John D'Emilio

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Born in 1948 in New York City, John D'Emilio is a professor of history and of women's and gender studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He taught previously at George Washington University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1982, where his advisor was Kenneth T. Jackson. A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow from 1995 to 1997, D'Emilio served as the Founding Director of the Policy Institute at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.



Professor of History and Gender & Women’s Studies


University of Illinois at Chicago Department of History (M/C 198) 913 University Hall 601 South Morgan Street Chicago, IL 60607-7109

Phone: (312) 996-2502 Fax: (312) 996-6377 E-mail:


Ph.D., Columbia University, 1982 M.A., Columbia, 1972 B.A., Columbia, 1970 (cum laude)



Lost Prophet:Bayard Rustin and the Quest for Peace and Justice in America (The Free Press, 2003).

The World Turned: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and Culture (Duke University Press, 2002).

Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy and Civil Rights (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000). Co-edited with William Turner and Urvashi Vaid.

Making Trouble:Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University (New York: Routledge, 1992).

Intimate Matters:A History of Sexuality in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1988; 2nd expanded edition, University of Chicago Press, 1997). Coauthored with Estelle Freedman.

Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983; 2nd edition, with a new preface and afterward, 1998).

The Civil Rights Struggle: Leaders in Profile (New York: Facts-on-File, Inc., 1979). Edited, with an introduction.

The Universities and the Gay Experience: of a Conference Sponsored by the Women and Men of the Gay Academic Union (New York, 1974). Edited, with an Introduction.

Aricles, Chapters, Reports:

"Some Lessons from Lawrence," in H. N. Hirsch, ed., The Future of Gay Rights in America (New York: Routledge, 2005), 3-14.

"A Biographer and His Subject: Wrestling with Bayard Rustin," Queer Ideas: The David R. Kessler Lectures in Lesbian and Gay Studies (New York: The Feminist Press, 2003), 169-184.

“Placing Gay in the Sixties,” in Alexander Bloom, ed., “Something in the Air”:Reading the Sixties in the Nineties (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming spring 2001).

“Organizational Tales: Interpreting the NGLTF Story,” in D’Emilio, Turner, and Vaid, eds., Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights(New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 469-86.

“Cycles of Change, Questions of Strategy:The Gay and Lesbian Movement After Fifty Years,” in Rimmerman, Wald, and Wilcox, eds., The Politics of Gay Rights (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 31-53.

“Bayard Rustin, Civil Rights Strategist,” Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review 6 #3 (Summer 1999): 12-15.

"A Meaning for All Those Words:Sex, Politics, History, and Larry Kramer," inLawrence Mass, ed., We Must Love Each Other or Die:The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer (London and New York:Cassell, 1997), pp. 73-85.

"Here to Stay:A Working Paper on Gay and Lesbian Family Issues."(Washington, DC:NGLTF Policy Institute, 1996).16 pp.

"Power at the Polls:The Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Vote."(Washington, DC:NGLTF Policy Institute, 1996).15 pp.

"Reading the Silences in a Gay Life:The Case of Bayard Rustin," in Mary Rhiel and David Suchoff, eds., The Seductions of Biography (New York:Routledge, 1996), pp. 59-68.

"Homophobia and the Trajectory of Postwar American Radicalism:The Case of Bayard Rustin," Radical History Review, #62 (Spring 1995): 80-103.

Foreword to Out of the Closets:Voices of Gay Liberation ed. by Karla Jay and Allen Young, 20th Anniversary Edition (New York:New York University Press, 1992), xi-xxix.

"Homosexuality," in The Reader's Companion to American History, ed. by Eric Foner and John Garraty (Boston:Houghton Mifflin, 1991), 510-514.

"Problems Encountered in Writing the History of Sexuality," Journal of Sex Research, 27 (1990), 481-95. Co-authored with Estelle Freedman.

"The Campus Environment for Gay and Lesbian Life," Academe, Jan-Feb. 1990, pp. 16-19.

"Gay Politics and Community in San Francisco Since World War II," in Duberman, Vicinus, and Chauncey, Jr., eds., Hidden From History:Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past (New York:New American Library, 1989), 456-473.

"The Homosexual Menace:The Politics of Sexuality in Cold War America," in Peiss and Simmons, eds., Passion and Power:Sexuality in History (Philadelphia:Temple University Press, 1989), 226-240.

"Not a Simple Matter:Gay History and Gay Historians," Journal of American History, 76 (1989), 435-442.

"The Issue of Sexual Preference on College Campuses:Retrospect and Prospect," in Carol Lasser, ed., Educating Men and Women Together:Coeducation in a Changing World (Urbana:University of Illinois Press, 1987), 142-151.

"Making and Unmaking Minorities:The Tension between Gay History and Politics," Review of Law and Social Change, 14 (1986), 915-922.

"The Military and Lesbians during the McCarthy Years," SIGNS, 9 (1984), 759-775.Coauthored with Allan Berube.

"Capitalism and Gay Identity," in Snitow, Stansell, and Thompson, eds., Powers of Desire:The Politics of Sexuality (New York:Monthly Review Press, 1983), 100-113.

"Gay Politics, Gay Community:San Francisco's Experience," Socialist Review, January-February 1981, pp. 77-104.

Academic Positions:

Gender and Women’s Studies Program, and Department of History, University of Illinois at Chicago: Professor, 1999 - .

Graduate Program in Public Policy, George Washington University: Visiting Scholar, 1998-99.

Department of History, University of North Carolina Greensboro, 1983-98. Professor, 1992-98; Associate Professor, 1988-92; Assistant Professor, 1983-88.Director of Graduate Studies, 1988-93.

Other Professional Employment:

Founding Director, Policy Institute, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1995 - 1997.Responsibilities included writing, research, lecturing; planning symposia, roundtables, conferences; grantwriting and fundraising; budget preparation; management and recruitment of staff and interns.

Awards, Honors, Recognitions:

Induction, City of Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, 2005.

Brudner Prize, Yale University, for lifetime contribution to the development of lesbian and gay studies, 2005.

"Chicagoans of the Year," Chicago Tribune, 2004.

American Library Association, Stonewall Award, Best Gay and Lesbian Nonfiction Book, for Lost Prophet, 2004.

Publishing Triangle, Randy Shilts Award, Best Gay Nonfiction Book, for Lost Prophet, 2004.

National Book Award Finalist, Nonfiction, Lost Prophet, 2003.

Editor's Choice, Best Book Award for The World Turned, Lambda Literary Foundation, 2003.

University Scholar Award, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2003-05.

Organization of American Historians, Distinguished Lecturer, 2002-04.

Fellowship, Institute for the Humanities, UIC, 2001-02.

President's Distinguished Speaker, University of Illinois, 2000 - 2003.

Research Grant, Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2000.

David R. Kessler Lecturer, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, City University of New York, 1999.

Research Grant, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library Foundation, 1999.

Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1998-99.

Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1997-98.

Fellowship, National Humanities Center, 1995 [declined].

Fellowship, National Humanities Center, 1995 [declined].

Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center, 1995 [declined].

Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 1994.

Research Grant, John F. Kennedy Library, 1993.

Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Summer 1993.

Research Grant, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1992.

Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California, 1990-91.

American Council of Learned Societies, Fellowship for Studies in Modern Society and Values, 1985.

Best Book Award of the Task Force on Gay Liberation of the American Library Association, 1984.

UNCG Excellence Foundation, Summer Research Grant, 1984.

Nominee, University of Chicago Press, for Pulitzer Prize in U.S. History, 1983.

Participant, Summer Institute on "Stigma and Interpersonal Relations," Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California, 1982.

Dissertation Nominated for the Bancroft Prize, 1982.

Kent Fellow, Danforth Foundation, 1975-1977.

New York State Lehman Fellow, 1972-1976.

Phi Beta Kappa, Columbia College, 1970.

Teaching Experience:

Undergraduate Courses:

Western Civilization (Antiquity to the 16th Century).

U. S. History Survey (two-semester sequence).

Sexuality in Historical Perspective.

United States Since 1945.

United States in the 1960s.

Sexuality and Community: Lesbians, Gay Men, and Contemporary Society.

The American Experience, a team-taught, interdisciplinary, four-semester American Studies sequence.Seminars taught include:Race and

Southern Life, 1865-1945; America's Rise to Global Power, 1865-1945; Sexuality, Power and Politics Since World War II; Youth Protest in the 1960s; Black Protest in the 1950s and 1960s; Autobiography and Identity in Post-World War II America.

Graduate Courses:

United States in the 1960s.

U. S. Diplomacy:The Twentieth Century.

Sexuality in Historical Perspective.

Topics in the History of Sexuality.

Colloquium in U. S. History, 1865 to the present.

Seminar on Biography and History.

Conference and Meetings Participation:

Chair and Comment, "Civil Rights: Beyond the South, Beyond the Sixties," Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Boston, March 2004.

Keynote Address, "Still Sexless After All These Years: U.S. Historians Writing Politics," Sexual Worlds, Political Cultures

Conference, Social Science Research Council, Washington DC, October 2003.

Keynote Address, "Listening to Bayard Rustin: Lessons from a Life," Peace History Society Annual Conference, Mount Pleasant, MI, April 2003.

Keynote Address, "The Trials of Bayard Rustin," at "Homeland Insecurity: Civil Liberties, Repression, and Citizenship in the 1950s," Smith College Conference, January 2003.

Paper, "When Gandhi Met Foucault: Bayard Rustin's Prison Years," Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, April 2001.

Chair and Comment, “Sexual Rights Activism,” American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Detroit, October 2000.

Chair and Comment, “Rethinking the Origins and Evolution of the Gay Movement,” The Future of the Queer Past Conference, University of Chicago, September 2000.

Panelist, “Sexuality and the State,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Toronto, April 1999.

Panelist, "Historical Perspectives on Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," at Relatively Speaking:A Conference on Gay and Lesbian

Families, New York University, May 1997.

Comment, "Gay San Francisco," Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 1997.

Chair and Comment, "Discourses of Masculinity in American Politics," Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, June 1996.

Panelist, Roundtable on "The Personal Politics of Biography," Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Chicago, March 1996.

Plenary Speaker, "Remaking Tradition:Gay and Lesbian Family Issues in Historical Perspective," Annual Symposium on Gender Issues, Lewis and Clark College, March 1996.

Keynote Speaker, Conference on "Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues:Multicultural Community Building," Wayne State University, February 1996.

Paper, "Passing in the Life of Bayard Rustin:The Intersections of Class, Race, and Sexuality," Defining A Field Conference, City University of New York, October 1995.

Chair and Comment, "Sex on the Margins:Race, Class, and Sexual Deviance in Mid-20th-Century America," American Historical Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, January 1994.

Paper, "Reading the Silences in a Gay Life:The Case of Bayard Rustin," Life Likenesses:The Seductions of Biography, Harvard University, October 1993.

Paper, "Homophobia and the Trajectory of Postwar American Radicalism:The Career of Bayard Rustin," Regimes of Sexuality Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, July 1993.

Comment, "Allard Lowenstein and the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi," Organization of American Historians, Chicago, April 1992.

Keynote Address, Second Annual Conference of the Oregon Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Campus Union, Portland, Oregon, October 1990.

Comment, "Competing Discourses on Lesbianism in Post-World War II America," Organization of American Historians, Washington, D. C., March 1990.

Keynote Address, Inaugural Conference of Gay Studies Program, San Francisco City College, October 1989.

Workshop Presenter, "Teaching the History of Sexuality," Organization of American Historians, St. Louis, April 1989.

Paper (with Estelle Freedman), "Intimate Matters:A History of Sexuality in America," The Social Construction of Sexualities Conference, Duke University, April 1989.

Paper (with Estelle Freedman), "Problems in Sex Research:Methodological and Interpretive Issues in the History of Sexuality," American Studies Association, Miami, October 1988.

Panelist, "AIDS and Contemporary Society," Southeastern Conference on Maternal and Child Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, April 1988.

Comment, "Love and Friendship in the Lesbian Bar Communities of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s," Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Wellesley College, June 1987.

Chair, "Beyond the Victorians:Sexuality, Popular Culture, and the Working Class in Turn-of-the-Century America," Organization of American Historians, New York City, April 1986.

Chair, "Gender, Power, and Cultural Discourse," Southeastern Women's Studies Conference, Greensboro, March 1986.

Paper, "Making and Unmaking Minorities:The Tension between Gay History and Politics," Symposium on Sex, Politics, and the Law, New York University Law School, February 1986.

Comment, "Changes in Sexual Behavior and Identity in Nineteenth-Century America," American Historical Association, New York City, December 1985.

Panelist, "The Contemporary Uses of Historical Writing," Sexuality and the State Conference, University of Toronto, July 1985.

Panelist, "Historians and the Making of the Film 'Before Stonewall,'" Sexuality and the State Conference, University of Toronto, July 1985.

Panelist, "Homosexuality and the Right," Socialist Scholars Conference, New York City, April 1983.

Paper, "Coping with Stigma:Collective Responses to Labeling Among Homosexuals," Summer Institute on Stigma and Interpersonal Relations, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, Ca., 1982.

Paper, "The Homosexual Menace:The Politics of Sexuality in Cold War America," Organization of American Historians, Philadelphia, April 1982.

Paper, "Cultural Dissent and Sexual Nonconformity:The Beat Generation and the Gay Male Subculture in San Francisco," Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, April 1980.

Paper, "The Early Gay Rights Movement," Radical History Network Conference, Berkeley, May 1979.

Invited Lectures and Presentations:

Colleges and Universities:

Lecture, "The Campaign for Same-Sex Marriage." Yale University, February 2005. Rutgers University, November 2004. University of Iowa, February 2004.

Lecture, "Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin." Swarthmore College, October 2005. University of Vermont, October 2004. University of North Carolina - Charlotte, April 2004. Northern Illinois University, April 2004. Northwestern University, March 2004. Sarah Lawrence College, March 2004. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, February 2004. Denison University, February 2004. University of Iowa, February 2004. DePaul University, February 2004. Stanford University, January 2004. University of Chicago, November 2003.

Lecture, "Bayard Rustin and the Quest for Peace and Justice in America." Iowa State University, October 2002. Miami of Ohio, April 2001.

Lecture, "Lost Prophet:Bayard Rustin and the Quest for Peace and Justice in America.” Claremont Graduate School, January 1999. UCLA, January 1999. Colby College, April 1998. Ohio State University, October 1996. University of Delaware, May 1996. Stanford University, March 1995. University of Georgia, February 1995. University of Wisconsin, October 1994.

Lecture, "Reclaiming Tradition:Lesbian and Gay Families in America." Kenyon College, October 1996. University of Puget Sound, March 1996. William and Mary, January 1996. UCLA, October 1995. UC-Irvine, October 1995. UC-San Diego, October 1995.

Lecture, "AIDS and the Reshaping of the Lesbian and Gay Movement." University of Pittsburgh, March 1994. Emory University, February 1993. University of Iowa, April 1992. University of Illinois, January 1992. Stanford University, April 1991.

Lecture, "Intimate Matters:A History of Sexuality in America." University of Maryland, March 1999. Oberlin College, April 1989. Notre Dame, October 1988. Barnard, September 1988. Cornell University, October 1987.

Symposium and Seminar, "Lesbian and Gay Studies," University of Oregon, April 1991.

Lecture, "Gay and Lesbian Studies:New Kid on the Block?," Penn State, April 1990.

Lecture, "Rethinking the Sexual Revolution," Vanderbilt, March 1990.

Lecture, "Capitalism and Gay Identity: the Making of a Homosexual Minority." Bates College, March 1989. Harvard, March 1987. Northeastern, October 1985. Guilford College, March 1985. Williams College, March 1984. UNC-Chapel Hill, November 1983. Union College, May 1983. Wesleyan, February 1983.

Faculty and Graduate Student Seminar, "Researching and Teaching the History of Sexuality. University of Maryland, March 1999. University of Georgia, February 1995. University of Wisconsin, October 1994. Oberlin, April 1989. Duke, April 1989. Notre Dame, October 1988. Cornell, October 1987.

Faculty Seminar, "The History of Homosexuality," Harvard, March 1987.


University, Professional, Public:

Member, Chancellor’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, 2000 - .

Co-Chair, Women’s Studies Program Director Search, 1999-2000.

Member, Gender and Women’s Studies Program Committee, 1999 - .

Member or Chair of Department Search Committees, 2000-01, 1994-95, 1992-93, 1991-92.

College Promotion and Tenure Committee, 1994-95.

University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Member, 1988-90.

Dean's Graduate Studies Advisory Committee, Member, 1988-89, 1992-93.

Women's Studies Program Committee, Member, 1984-90; Coordinating Council, 1989-90.

Honors Council, Member, 1986-88.

Residential College, Committee to Reorganize the four-semester sequence in American Studies, Member, Spring 1989.

National History Day Planning Committee, Member, 1984-90.

Phi Alpha Theta, Faculty Adviser, 1983-90.

Member, Advisory Board, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, City University of New York, 2000 - .

Judge, Lambda Literary Awards, 1999.

Member, Advisory Board, "Between Men, Between Women" series, Columbia University Press, 1995 - .

Member, Advisory Board, GLQ:A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 1993 - 1995.

Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Homosexuality, 1987 - 1998.

Member, Advisory Board, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 1989 - 1993.

Member, Advisory Board, Out/Look:A Lesbian and Gay Quarterly, 1988 - 1992.

Member, Advisory Board, Men and Masculinity Series, Beacon Press, 1990 - 1992.

Chair, Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, an affiliated society of the American Historical Association, 1983-84.

Reviewer of Manuscripts in History for University of Chicago Press, Columbia University Press, Beacon Press, Routledge, D. C. Heath,

University of Illinois Press, Oxford University Press, Harvard University Press, and others.

Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Gay Concerns, American Association of University Professors, 1992 - 1993.

Member, Advisory Committee, Human Sexuality Collection, Cornell University Library, 1989 -1992.

Member, Board of Directors, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1988 - 1993. Co-Chair, 1989 - 1991.

Director, Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, 1987-88.

Other Experience and Activities:

Facilitator and Planner, National Policy Roundtable of the NGLTF Policy Institute, 1997 - 2000..The Roundtable brings together twice each year the executive directors of national gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender organizations for briefings and discussions of current public policy issues.

Planner and Facilitator, Leadership Development Weekends, 1987 - 1992.A series of retreats for leaders and staff of national and regional gay organizations, including lobbyists, litigationists, social service agency heads, government officials, AIDS service providers, publishers, and others.

Affidavit submitted on behalf of the plaintiff in Campbell v. Sundquist, a challenge to the constitutionality of the Tennessee sodomy statute, 1994.

Affidavit submitted on behalf of the plaintiff in Baker v. Wade, a challenge to the constitutionality of the Texas sodomy statute, heard before the Fifth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, 1985.

Consultant, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1983.I authored a report titled, "The Evolution and Impact of Federal Antihomosexual Policies in the 1950s.” to coincide with the 30thanniversary of Presidential Executive Order 10450, which banned the employment of homosexuals by the federal government.

Chief Historical Consultant, "Before Stonewall" film project, 1981-83.I worked closely with the filmmakers on this Corporation for Public Broadcasting financed documentary on gay life and politics before 1970.

Policy Analyst, The Day Care Forum, New York City, 1981-83.I prepared research papers for use by local day care groups in their legislative lobbying efforts at the municipal and state government level.

Assistant Director, Voters Against the Prison Construction Bond, 1981.I played a major role in coordinating a statewide campaign in New York that defeated a $500 million prison construction referendum.

Contributing Editor, U.S. Political Profiles Series, Facts-on-File, New York City, 1978-80.

Program Developer, Bank Street College Day Care Consultation Service, New York City, 1977-78.I developed an outreach program to New York City day care providers, and maintained liaison with legislators concerned with child care issues.

Founding Member and Member of Original Board, Gay Academic Union, 1973-75.

Contributing Editor, The New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1972-74.

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