Regina Kunzel is an historian of gender and sexuality in the 20th-century U.S ., with interdisciplinary interests in American Studies and LGBTQ studies. Her research focuses on the twined histories of difference and normalcy, the regulatory force of carceral institutions, and relationships between expert discourses and the self-representations of historical subjects.
Professor Kunzel’s most recent book, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (University of Chicago Press, 2008), examines the social and sexual world made by prisoners over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and tracks its meaning for the formation of modern sexuality. Criminal Intimacy was awarded the American Historical Association’s John Boswell Prize, the Modern Language Association’s Alan Bray Memorial Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Bonnie and Vern L. Bullough Award, and was a finalist for the American Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Prize. Kunzel is also the author of Fallen Women, Problem Girls: Unmarried Mothers and the Professionalization of Social Work, 1890 to 1945 (Yale University Press, 1993). For six years, from 2007 to 2013, she served as co-editor of the journal Gender & History. With Janice Irvine, she co-edits a book series on Sexuality Studies with Temple University Press. Professor Kunzel has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council.
Professor Kunzel received her B.A. from Stanford University and Ph.D. from Yale University. Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton, Kunzel taught at the University of Minnesota, where she was the Paul R. Frenzel Chair in Liberal Arts and Professor of History and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and at Williams College, as the Fairleigh Dickinson, Jr. Professor of History.
Professor Kunzel is currently working on a book exploring the encounter of sexual- and gender-variant people with psychiatry and psychoanalysis in the mid-twentieth-century U.S.