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Leigh Ann Wheeler




Leigh Ann Wheeler's specialties include Modern U.S. women, sexuality, social movements (especially around civil rights and civil liberties) and life stories. She is currently writing the biography of Anne Moody, a popular memoirist and civil rights activist best known as the author of Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968). Researching Moody's biography is the most meaningful work—aside from teaching—that Professor Wheeler has undertaken to date. In addition to archival work, it has involved delightful conversations with Moody's friends and family, as well as terrifying encounters with rattlesnakes in abandoned Mississippi cemeteries. Professor Wheeler's first two books—Against Obscenity: Reform and the Politics of Womanhood in America, 1873-1935 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) and How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (Oxford University Press, 2013) employed more conventional methodologies; they each answer important questions about developments in modern U.S. sexual culture, including: How did American women respond to commercialized sexual entertainment at the turn of the 20th century? What role did woman's suffrage play? Why do Americans think and talk about sex in terms of rights?


  • PhD, University of Minnesota
  • BA, Kansas State University

Research Interests

  • Modern U.S. women
  • Sexuality
  • Social movements
  • Civil liberties
  • Civil rights
  • Life Stories

Teaching Interests

  • Modern U.S.

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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae