• Faculty

  • Claire Potter

    Emeritus Professor


    Office Location
    A - 66 West 12th Street

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    Claire Potter


    I am a Professor Emerita of History at The New School for Social Research and past co-executive Editor of Public Seminar, a digital magazine of politics and culture based at The New School. My main research and teaching areas are in United States political history after 1970, the history of gender and sexuality, mass culture, media and internet Studies. My most recent book is Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Stole Our Democracy (Basic Books, 2020). My other books, edited collections and articles can be found at my website, clairepotter.com.

    In addition to my scholarship, I contribute to broader public conversations in the digital and legacy media, where good history can help inform the public about critical issues of the day. From 2011 to 2015, I blogged at The Chronicle of Higher Education. I have also written for The New York TimesThe Washington PostPolitico, The BulwarkDissent, The Village Voice, Inside Higher Education, berfrois, review31, and Jacobin. 

    My teaching reflects my scholarly commitments: to well-researched, accessibly written history; to historical writing that matters beyond the academy; to feminist and queer activist research; and to helping young historians acquire the methodological and technical tools they need to research and write the past in a twenty-first century digital world.

    I am represented by Roz Foster at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency, New York City.

    Degrees Held

    Ph.D., History, New York University
    M.A., History, New York University
    B.A., English, Yale University

    Professional Affiliation

    American Historical Association
    Organization of American Historians

    Recent Publications


    New York Media Woman: A Biography of Susan Brownmiller (proposal currently under consideration by Basic Books) 

    Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy, Basic Books, 2020

    War on Crime: Bandits, G-Men and the Politics of Mass Culture, Rutgers University Press, 1998

    Edited Collections

    With Renee Romano, Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America's Past, Rutgers University Press, 2018.

    With Renee Romano, Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back, University of Georgia Press, 2012

    Selected Articles and Book Chapters

    “Has the University Always Been `Neoliberal?’” Labor: Studies in Working Class History, v. 18 no. 4 (December 2021). 

    "The Only Way to Save Higher Education Is to Make It Free," The New York Times, June 5, 2020.

    "Men Invented Likeability. Guess Who Benefits." The New York Times, May 4, 2019.

    "Sexual harassment is about power. Why not fight it as we do bullying?" The Guardian, February 10, 2018.

    “Public Figures, Private Lives: Eleanor Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover and a Queer History Without Sexual Identity,” in Leila Rupp and Susan K. Freeman, Ed., Understanding and Teaching U.S. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), 199-212.

    "Is it OK to Call Donald Trump Jr. a Boy" The Washington Post, July 24, 2017.

    “When the Stars Come Out: Jodie Foster’s Queer Families and the Celebrity Private Sphere,” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking (winter, 2014).

    “A Queer Public Sphere: Urban History’s Sexual Landscape,” Journal of Urban History, (July 2014).

    “Thou Shalt Commit: The Internet, New Media, and the Future of Women’s History,” Journal of Women’s History vol. 25 no. 4 (Winter 2013), 350-362.

    “Virtually a Historian: Blogs and the Recent History of Dispossessed Academic Labor,” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques vol. 38. no. 2 (summer, 2012).

    “Taking Back Times Square: Feminist Repertoires and the Transformation of Urban Space In Late Second Wave Feminism,” Radical History Review, issue 113 (spring, 2012).

    “Paths to Political Citizenship: Feminism, Gay Rights and the Carter Presidency,” Journal of Policy History (winter 2011-12).

    “Queer Hoover: Sex, Lies and Political History,” Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 15 no. 3 (September 2006). Awarded the 2007-08 Audre Lorde article prize by the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History (American Historical Association affiliate society).

    Performances and Appearances

    “Fibber McGee’s Closet: Archives and the Digital Challenge,” Keynote for The Radcliffe Workshop on Technology and Archival Processing, Schlesinger Library, Harvard University, April 5, 2016.

    “On Beyond MOOCs: Why Humanists Should Be Shaping the Online World” on Thursday, February 25th, 4:30-6:00 p.m., in the Pane Room, Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

    “Did Feminism’s New Deal Begin in 1980?” University of California-Santa Barbara, September 26, 2015.

    “AIDS Activism as American History,” Museum of the City of New York, May 14, 2015.

    “The United States of AIDS: Building a Multi-Media Teaching Resource on the History of ACT UP,” Yale University, March 26, 2015.

    “From Mississippi to Times Square: the Roots of the Radical Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement,” University of North Carolina, March 19, 2015

    “Beyond the Sex Wars: Histories of Anti-Pornography Feminism,” Franklin and Marshall College, March 4, 2015.

    “Andrea Dworkin’s Queer Friendships,” Keynote, Symposium on Academic Feminism, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany, February 6, 2015

    “Online Identities: The Promises and Perils of A World Without Gender,” University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany, February 3 2015.

    “The University of Facebook,” IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University/Purdue University – Indianapolis, Monday October 13, 2014.

    “Andrea Dworkin’s Queer Friendships,” Sexual Reputations Conference, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, November 9, 2013.

    “Classrooms of the Future” TEDx, Connecticut College, New London, CT, April 14, 2012.

    "Virtually a Historian: Blogs and the Recent History of Dispossessed Academic Labor," Program in American Cultures, University of Michigan, February 14, 2012.

    Research Interests

    United States political history; media and Internet studies; gender, sexuality and feminism.

    Awards And Honors

    National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions Grant, 2015

    Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Digital Project Grant, 2014

    Schlesinger Library Research Grant, 2013

    AHA Committee on Lesbian and Gay History Audre Lorde article prize, 2008

    Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, American Historical Association, 1988

    Charlotte Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, 1987




    Twitter Handle @tenuredradical

    Past Courses

    Independent Senior Project
    LHIS 4990, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    GHIS 6990, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    LHIS 3950, Spring 2024

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