Margot Canaday is a legal and political historian who studies gender and sexuality in modern America. She holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her first book, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America (Princeton, 2009), won the Organization of American Historians' Ellis Hawley Prize, the American Political Science Association's Gladys M. Kammerer Award (co-winner), the American Studies Association's Lora Romero Prize, the American Society for Legal History's Cromwell Book Prize, the Committee on LGBT History's John Boswell Prize, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Studies, as well as the Association of American Law Schools' Order of the Coif Biennial Book Award. Canaday has won fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Princeton University Society of Fellows, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. With Thomas Sugrue, Glenda Gilmore, Michael Kazin, and Stephen Pitti, she is co-editor of the series Politics and Culture in Modern America at the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Pink Precariat: LGBT Workers in the Shadow of Civil Rights, 1945-2000
Professor Canaday's current research shifts her focus from the state to the economy and takes on the idea that twentieth-century workplaces were part of the "straight world"–zones in which LGBT people historically disappeared. This study will draw on business, labor, and legal records, as well as memoirs and oral histories, to demonstrate by contrast how workplaces mattered to queer lives in the past.
Professor Canaday’s teaching interests include gender and women’s history, the history of sexuality, the history of work/labor, as well as American political and legal history. While at Princeton, she has taught seminars on the history of the American state, on work and inequality, on the twentieth-century United States, as well as on the history of sexuality. She regularly offers an undergraduate lecture course on the history of gender and sexuality in modern America, and is currently developing a seminar (with Professor Regina Kunzel) on the AIDS crisis.
"Intimate Matters at 25: Reflections on the History of Sexuality," Frontiers 35, No 1. (2014).
“Thinking Sex in the Transnational Turn: An Introduction,” American Historical Review 114 (December 2009).
“Heterosexuality as a Legal Regime,” in Michael Grossberg and Christopher Tomlins, eds., The Cambridge History of Law in America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
“Building a Straight State: Sexuality and Social Citizenship under the 1944 G.I. Bill,” The Journal of American History 90 (December 2003).