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Samantha Barbas

Samantha Barbas

Samantha Barbas is a Professor of Law at University of Buffalo School of Law teaching and researching in the areas of legal history, First Amendment law, and mass communications law. Her focus is on the intersection of law, culture, media, and technology throughout United States history. She has recently explored the history of censorship, privacy, and defamation, contributing significantly to her field.

Prof. Barbas holds a Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Her previous roles include being a professor of history at Chapman University, a visiting professor of history at U.C. Berkeley, and a lecturer at Arizona State University. Prof. Barbas has also clerked for Judge Richard Clifton on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Honolulu.

Prof. Barbas has published multiple books in her field. Her most recent, “Actual Malice: Civil Rights and Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan” is published by University of California Press.  Her previous books are “The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst: Free Speech Renegade” (University of Chicago Press, May 2021), “Confidential Confidential: The Inside Story of Hollywood’s Notorious Scandal Magazine” (Chicago Review Press, 2018), “Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle Over Privacy and Press Freedom” (Stanford University Press, 2017), “Laws of Image: Privacy and Publicity in America” (Stanford University Press, 2015), “The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons” (University of California Press, 2005), and “Movie Crazy: Fans, Stars, and the Cult of Celebrity” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001). Her work has been reviewed in prominent media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She is also an adviser on the Restatement of the Law (Third) of Torts: Defamation and Privacy.

In 2020, Prof. Barbas was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award for her ongoing book on the Supreme Court First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan.

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Guest Appearances
March 29, 2023

Why NYT v. Sullivan mattered in 1964 and is under attack today

The 1964 decision in New York Times v. Sullivan protected the civil rights movement, established the “actual malice” standard, and is the basis for modern American libel law. But in recent years, criticism of...