Department of American Studies
800 N. State College Blvd.
California State University
Fullerton, CA 92831
Jesse F. Battan, Ph.D
Professor, Department of American Studies
Ph.D, University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., New York University
B.A., University of California, Berkeley
Courses Regularly Taught
AMST 201 – Introduction to American Studies
AMST 318 – Hollywood and America: Using Film as a Cultural Document
AMST 419 – Love in America
AMST 460 – Bohemians and Beats: Cultural Radicalism in America
AMST 502T - Culture and Desire: Theoretical Approaches to the History of the Emotions
Publications - Books, Journals, Websites
Articles and Book Chapters
“Contesting the Bonds of Marriage: Free Love in the Nineteenth Century,” in Jen Manion and Nick Syrett, eds., The Cambridge History of Sexuality in the United States, volume 1 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2024), forthcoming.
“’What Is the Correct Revolutionary Proletarian Attitude toward Sex?’ Red Love and the Americanization of Marx in the Interwar Years,” in Christopher Phelps and Robin Vandome, eds., Marxism and America: New Appraisals (Manchester, UK: University of Manchester Press, 2021), 43-68.
“’De-Civilizing’ Sexuality? Intimacy, Erotic Life and Social Change in Modern America,” in Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, Johannes Voelz, eds., Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011), 287-313.
"'Sexual Selection’ and Social Revolution: Anarchist Eugenics and Radical Darwinism in the United States, 1850-1910," in Jeannette Eileen Jones and Patrick B. Sharp, eds., Darwin in Atlantic Cultures: Evolutionary Visions of Race, Gender, and Sexuality (New York: Routledge, 2010), 33-52.
“’You Cannot Fix the Scarlet Letter on My Breast!’: Women Reading, Writing, and Reshaping the Sexual Culture of Victorian America,” Journal of Social History, 37(Spring 2004)3: 601-624.
”’Socialism Will Cure All But an Unhappy Marriage’: Free Love and the American Left, 1850-1910,” in Jesse Battan, Thomas Bouchet et Tania Régin, eds., Meetings & Alcôves: Gauches et Sexualités en Europe et aux Etats-Unis depuis 1850/The Left and Sexuality in Europe and the United States since 1850 (Dijon, France: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 2004), 29-46.
“Des Gauches Adroites?“ in Jesse Battan, Thomas Bouchet et Tania Régin, eds., Meetings & Alcôves: Gauches et Sexualités en Europe et aux Etats-Unis depuis 1850/The Left and Sexuality in Europe and the United States since 1850 (Dijon, France: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 2004), 5-28. Co-authored with Thomas Bouchet.
“An Introduction to the Socialism and Sexuality Seminar,” in Gert Hekma, ed., Past and Present of Radical Sexual Politics (Amsterdam: Mosse Foundation, 2004), 8-10.
“’In the Marriage Bed Woman’s Sex Has Been Enslaved and Abused’: Defining and Exposing Martial Rape in Late Nineteenth-Century America,” in Merril D. Smith, ed., Sex Without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 204-229.
"The 'Rights' of Husbands and the 'Duties' of Wives: Power and Desire in the American Bedroom, 1850-1910," Journal of Family History, 24(April 1999)2:165-186.
"Angela Tilton Heywood," in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, vol. 10 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 724-726.
"'The Word Made Flesh': Language, Authority, and Sexual Desire in Late Nineteenth-Century America," Journal of the History of Sexuality, 3(October 1992)2:223-244.
Reprinted in John C. Fout and Maura Shaw Tantillo, eds., American Sexual Politics: Sex, Gender, and Race since the Civil War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 101-121.
Reprinted in Kathy Peiss, ed., Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001), 252-263.
"The 'New Narcissism' in 20th-Century America: The Shadow and Substance of Social Change," Journal of Social History, 17(Winter 1983)2:199-220.
Meetings & Alcôves: Gauches et Sexualités en Europe et aux Etats-Unis depuis 1850/The Left and Sexuality in Europe and the United States since 1850 (Dijon, France: Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 2004). Co-edited with Thomas Bouchet and Tania Régin.
Work in Progress
’Incompatible Bedfellows’: Love and Freedom in Early Twentieth-Century America
Other Scholarly Work
Selected Conference Presentations:
“’What Is the Correct Revolutionary Proletarian Attitude toward Sex?’ Red Love and the Americanization of Marx in the Interwar Years,” Symposium on “Marx and Marxism in the United States, sponsored by the British Association for American Studies and the Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham, UK (May 11, 2019).
“From Fourier to Freud: Changing Conceptions of ‘Sexual Revolution’ in the United States, 1820-1930,” Conference on Sexual Revolutions—Sexual Politics, Sponsored by the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics and the Center for Ethics and Value Inquiry, University of Ghent, Belgium (February 22-23, 2018).
“’Freedom Does Not Mean Joy’: Sexual Revolutions and the ‘Flight from Feeling’ in Early 20th-Century America,” Conference on Failing at Feelings: Historical Perspectives (1800-2000), Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany (December 15-16, 2016).
“Contesting Innocence in Victorian America: The Free Lovers’ Challenge to Mr. Comstock and Mrs. Grundy,” International Conference on Guarding Innocence: Moral Protectionism in Nineteenth Century Britain and America, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (September 3-4, 2010).
“How ‘Misbehaving Women’ Changed History: The Sexual Politics of Frances Wright, Mary Gove Nichols, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman,” Comment on the Presidential Panel, “Misbehaving Women: Sex Radicals and Nonconformists Who Made U.S. History,” at the 124th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, San Diego, CA (January 7, 2010).
“’De-Civilizing’ Sexuality? Intimacy, Erotic Life and Social Change in Modern America,” American Studies Association Annual Convention, Albuquerque, NM (October 18, 2008)
“Writing the Self, Writing a Revolution: Personal Correspondence and the Transformation of Private Life in Late Nineteenth-Century America,” International Conference on Writing the Self in the Americas: Diaries, Letters, Life Stories, sponsored by the American Studies Research Center at the University of Versailles, St- Quentin-en-Yvelines, France (June 22, 2007).
“Living the Life of ‘Love in Liberty’: Free Unions and Free Love in Late Nineteenth-Century America,” International Socialism and Sexuality Conference on Les socialistes et le mariage - Socialists and marriage, Laboratoire de Démographie historique de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France (October 5, 2006)
“Parading Private Thoughts in Public Spaces: Making a Spectacle of Desire in Nineteenth-Century America,” American Studies Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC (November 7, 2005)
“Performing Free Love: Oratory, Print Culture, and the Creation of a ‘Sexual Revolution’ in Nineteenth-Century America,” Material Cultures and the Creation of Knowledge Conference, Centre for the History of the Book, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (July 23, 2005)
“’Free Motherhood’ and ‘Race Progress’: A Eugenics of the Left in the United States, 1820-1910,” 118th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, Washington, DC (January, 2004)
“The Passionless Woman: Prescriptive Ideology, Social Identity, and Sexual Experience in Victorian America,” Conference on Women's Sexualities: Historical, Interdisciplinary, and International Perspectives, sponsored by The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, IU Gender Studies Department, IU History Department, and the Social Science Research Council, Indiana University (November 2003)
“Communities of Sentiment, Ties of Affinity: Reading, Desire, and Sexual Reform in Nineteenth-Century America,” Gutenberg 2000: An International Conference on the History of the Book, sponsored by the Gutenberg Institute for the History of the Book (University of Mainz), the Gutenberg Society, and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, Mainz, Germany (July, 2000).
"'Why Do So Many Wives Grow Disgusted With Their Husbands?' Exploring the Emotional Lives of Husbands and Wives in Nineteenth-Century America," Third Carleton Conference on the History of the Family, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (May 15, 1997).
"'I Was not Always Passionless, Who is to Blame that I am Now? Expanding the Boundaries of Sexual Identity in Victorian America," 87th Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians, Atlanta, Georgia, April 15, 1994.
Grants and Special Projects
British Association for American Studies Eccles Centre Visiting U.S. Fellow in North American Studies for 2012 to conduct research at the British Library in London.
Tuesdays, from 1-4 PM, and by appointment, via Zoom.
Current Course Schedule
AMST 201-50: Introduction to American Studies
AMST 318-50: Hollywood and America