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Regina Kunzel, an associate professor of history and chair of American Studies at Williams College, researches history of sexuality, women’s and gender history, history of the body, and feminist theory. Her book Fallen Women, Problems Girls: Unmarried Mothers and the Professionalization of Social Work, 1890 to 1945 (Yale University Press, 1993) explored the social and cultural significance of out-of-wedlock pregnancy in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century.
Kunzel will access the archives at the Schlesinger Library for her project “Outlaw Desire: Prison Sexual Culture in the United States.” She will trace the evolution of the concept of “situational homosexuality” through an analysis of the relationship of prison sexual culture to the formation of “modern” sexuality. Drawing on a wide range of work by doctors, psychiatrists, sociologists, prison administrators, journalists, and prisoners, as well as film and fiction, the project promises to complicate and enrich the understanding of the ways in which sexuality is constructed historically.
She received her PhD in history from Yale University. Kunzel has received a John D. Rockefeller III Fellowship, an Albert J. Beveridge Grant from the American Historical Association, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and an Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences Fellowship at Williams College.