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Joan Lubin

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Joan Lubin

Goldwin Smith Hall


Joan Lubin is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in science & literature in the Society for the Humanities and the English Department. She received her PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. She was the 2017 John Money Fellow for Scholars of Sexology at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research in Bloomington, Indiana. She is currently completing two book projects. Pulp Sexology is a literary history of the quantitative human sciences, combining extensive archival research with approaches from history of science, cultural studies, and sexuality studies. It uncovers the imprint of the quantitative turn in mid-century American sexology exemplified by the Kinsey Reports on the literary production of the postwar period, tracing the logics of gay liberation out of the unlikely wellspring of data aggregation. Her second project, Social Science Fictions, centers the historical convergence between the genres of science fiction and campus novel over the course of the long 1970s, offering a critical account of the shaping force of scientism in the discipline of English. Drawing upon institutional archives, conference proceedings, syllabi, fan zines, publishing history, and more, it reconstructs the institutionalization of sci-fi as an object of legitimate scholarly attention as sci-fi itself became increasingly obsessed with the campus as perhaps the most alien world of all. Lubin has published on The Incredible Shrinking Man, cold war population explosion discourse, and climate catastrophe in Scale in Literature and Culture (Palgrave, 2017), and is currently completing articles on the literary history of the Kinsey Reports, Hugo Gernsback’s pulp sexology, and the couple form in lesbian historiography. She is co-editing an interdisciplinary journal issue, “The Sexological Floorplan,” on the history of sexuality and the politics of space. Lubin is curator of a historical exhibition of gay pulp fiction at the John J. Wilcox, Jr., Archive at the William Way LGBT Center, and co-curator of an exhibition of AIDS Architectures opening at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in 2021. At Cornell, Lubin will be teaching seminars on topics in science and literature in the English Department, including Sexology and the Novel; The 21st Century; and Quantification: Literature that Counts.


  • English
  • Society for the Humanities