Amy Werbel joined the department in 2013 as a specialist in art of the United States. She is the author of numerous works on the subject of American visual culture and sexuality, including Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018), which was praised in Kirkus Reviews as “an incisive history of the futility of censorship;” and Thomas Eakins: Art, Medicine, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia (Yale University Press, 2007), which was designated an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine and praised in The New England Journal of Medicine as “a rigorous academic review that is readable and enjoyable.”
Dr. Werbel is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from numerous institutions, including the Frick Center for the History of Collecting, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She served as a Fulbright Scholar for 2011-2012 at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China, where she taught American studies and art history courses to graduate and undergraduate students, and lectured throughout the mainland on topics including censorship. Her self-published book, Lessons from China: America in the Hearts and Minds of the World’s Most Important Rising Generation (2013), reflects on these cross-cultural experiences.
Amy Werbel explains how Comstock’s religious fervor and backing by wealthy New York society members led to a raft of harsh federal and state censorship laws.
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