Chauncey, George

DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History

Office Hours

Spring 2024Wednesdays, 2:30 - 4:00 pm. Book an appointment by clicking here.


Ph.D. – Yale University, 1989
B.A. – Yale University 1977


Interests and Research

George Chauncey, DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History and director of the Columbia Research Initiative on the Global History of Sexualities, works on the history of gender, sexuality, and the city, with a particular focus on American LGBTQ history. He is the author of Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 and Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality. Since 1993, he has participated as an expert witness in more than thirty gay rights cases, including Romer v. Evans (1996), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and the marriage equality cases decided by the Supreme Court in 2013 and 2015. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the New-York Historical Society and has served as historical consultant to several public history projects, including exhibitions, lecture series, and teacher training programs at the New York Public Library, Chicago History Museum, and Library of Congress. He has also been interviewed for numerous documentary films and written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, The New Yorker, and other publications.  Before coming to Columbia in fall 2017, he taught at the University of Chicago and at Yale University, where he served as chair of the History Department and chair of the Committee for LGBT Studies and was awarded Yale’s prize for teaching excellence in the humanities. He is currently completing a book on gay male culture, politics, and everyday life in the segregated neighborhoods of postwar New York City. In 2022, the Library of Congress awarded him the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.



  • John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity, The Library of Congress, 2022
  • Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities, Yale, 2012
  • Elected, Member, New York Academy of History, 2007
  • Elected, Member, Society of American Historians, 2005 [executive board, 2015-]
  • Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library, 2004
  • Community Service Award, Lesbian Community Cancer Project, Chicago, 2004
  • Social Science Research Council Sexuality Research Fellowship, five Faculty Advisor Awards, 1997-2003
  • Freedom Award, Equality Illinois, 2001
  • First James Brudner Memorial Award in Lesbian and Gay Studies, Yale University, 2000
  • Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University, 1998
  • Sprague-Todes Literary Award, Gerber-Hart Library, 1997
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1996
  • National Humanities Center, 1996
  • American Council of Learned Societies, 1992
  • Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, 1989-90
  • Samuel Golieb Fellowship in Legal History, New York University School of Law, 1987


Books and Edited Volumes

Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (Basic Books, 1994; HarperCollins/U.K., 1995; French translation by Didier Eribon, Fayard, 2003).  Winner of five book awards, including the Merle Curti Award in social history (OAH), Frederick Jackson Turner Prize (OAH), Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, and Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Studies.

Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate Over Gay Equality(Basic Books, 2004; Japanese translation, Akashi Shoten, 2006)

Editor (with Elizabeth Povinelli), “Thinking Sexuality Transnationally,” special issue ofGLQ: Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (1999)

Editor (with Martin Duberman and Martha Vicinus),Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past (New American Library, 1989; Turkish translation, Siyasal, 2002)