I'm a Professor at Rutgers University, where I teach in the departments of History and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My scholarship, artwork, and curatorial practice reflect my interests in LGBTQ history, science and medicine, religion, archival practice, utopian communities, and gender and the body. I'm the author of the award-winning books The Shape of Sex: Nonbinary Gender from Genesis to the Renaissance (Columbia University Press, 2021) and Prophecy, Alchemy, and the End of Time (Columbia, 2009); and co-editor of "Trans*historicities" (with Zeb Tortorici), a special issue of the journal TSQ (Duke, 2018). My essays and reviews have appeared in Wired, Spot, Radical History Review, GLQ, WSQ (Women's Studies Quarterly), Osiris, ASAP/Journal, postmedieval, Journal of the History of Sexuality, and a number of books. I've lectured internationally and received grants and residential fellowships from the National Science Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA, the Huntington Library, and the Stanford Humanities Center, among others. 

In addition to my academic writings, I've been interviewed or had my work featured in The New York TimesArtforum, Huffington Post, People, Hyperallergic, LA Review of Books, Out, Art PapersFeature  Shoot, Redbook, Slate, JSTOR Daily, Capricious, LA Weekly, Gallerist, Buzzfeed, Forbes, Refinery29, and Modern Painters,  and I've participated in exhibitions and programs at universities and arts venues that include Baxter Street Camera Club (NY, NY), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX), the Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Denver), Houston Center for Photography (Houston, TX), LatchKey Gallery (NY, NY), Leslie-Lohman Museum (NY, NY), NYU's Tracey-Barry Gallery (NY, NY), the ONE Archives Gallery and Museum at USC (West Hollywood, CA), Paul Robeson Galleries (Newark, NJ), the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery (Saratoga Springs, NY), Yale University School of Art (New Haven, CT), and other sites. I've also been selected for reviews and festivals such as the New York (Times) Portfolio Review, Photolucida's Critical Mass Top 50 (2023),  SPRING/BREAK (NYC), PhotoVogue Festival (Milan, with Eye Mama Project), and ImageNation (Milan and Paris). 

I'm proud to be the Estelle Lebowitz Endowed Artist-in-Residence at Rutgers University in 2024-5, and I have upcoming solo exhibitions at Mrs. Gallery, the Mary H. Dana Women Series Gallery at Rutgers University, and Blue Sky: Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts. 

Select Media

I'm interviewed for "Why Doesn't Anyone Want to Live in this Perfect Place?" about the history of womyn's lands (lesbian intentional communities).

People interviews me about my photo series "In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." 

M. Buna interviews me about my new book, The Shape of Sex: Nonbinary Gender from Genesis to the Renaissance.

You can listen to me talk about The Shape of Sex on this podcast hosted by Leo Valdes.

Recent and UpcomingTalks

Shape and Story at the Tang Museum

Join us on Thursday, January 26, at 6 pm, for a conversation with Leah DeVun, Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University, and Nancy Thebaut, Assistant Professor of Art History at Skidmore. They will talk about how we visualize queer, trans, and nonbinary communities in the past and present through art and scholarship, and how we might chart a path toward the future.

This event is co-sponsored by the Art History Department, Studio Art Department, History Department, and the Tang. 

"Goddess Help Us" at Five Myles Gallery

Watch a video of my recent panel discussion and Q&A with artists Elizabeth Insogna, Kar(s)en Heagle, and Kay Turner, and with scholar Amy Hale, as part of "Hekate's Grove" at Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn (Oct. 22 - Nov. 20, 2022). 

Upcoming Talks

Tang Museum 12/1

American Historical Assoc. 1/5

Stonewall Museum 3/3

Wesleyan 3/9

Bowdoin 5/4

Folger Institute 5/19

Tel Aviv Univ. 6/6

Columbia Univ. 10/13

Recent Past Talks

CUNY Grad Center 9/24

Columbia University 10/13

University of Rochester 10/20

Rhode Island School of Design 11/8

Brown University 11/10

University of Pennsylvania 11/15

Columbia University 11/18

Labyrinth Books, Princeton 12/2

International Center for Medieval Art 1/28

Bidar School, Tehran, 1/26

University of California, Santa Barbara 1/31

Oxford University 2/15

Cambridge University 2/18

University of Arkansas 2/28

CUNY John Jay College 3/24

University of Cincinnati 3/31

Stanford University 5/11

Princeton University 5/28

Humboldt-Universität, Berlin 6/7

Wexner Center/Ohio State University SU 9/15-6

Northwestern University 10/13

Five Myles Gallery 11/3

Recent Activities

I'm delighted to announce that my work will be exhibited in Milan, Italy on September 22-4 at ImageNation, in cooperation  

with Collater.al Photography, presented by Just Women Gallery, and curated by Slavica Vaselinovic. 

Eye Mama at RPS

One of my photos is included in the wonderful Eye Mama book project, edited by Kari Arieli, which shows life through the lens of mothers.

The book launch is accompanied by an exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol, along with other events. You can purchase the book here.

Drexel University Pearlstein Gallery

You can see work from my "Lesbian Land" photo series, as well as a few images from my new series on fatherhood, on view at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in Philadelphia until Dec. 10, 2022.

Tempus Fugit at LatchKey Gallery in New York City

Tempus Fugit represents a group of artists who have forced themselves to step back and observe society in a meaningful way, with their resulting artwork helping us to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us. Their thought-provoking creations address issues dominating today’s headlines, such as systemic racism, women’s rights, American democracy, voting rights, and the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality. Participating artists include Chellis Baird, Kevin Claiborne, Lindsey Brittain Collins, Leah DeVun, Camille Hoffman, Keli Safia Maksud, Emmanuel Massillon, Lydia Nobles, Calli Roche, Telvin Wallace and Esteban Whiteside.

Thrilled to be included in this new show at Main Line Art Center in Philadelphia, curated by Leah Appleton. Reception 6/3.

You can listen to me talk about my new book, The Shape of Sex, on this podcast, hosted by my wonderful interviewer, Rutgers' own Leo Valdes!

I'm thrilled to be interviewed about The Shape of Sex in the LA Review of Books! Click the image to view

I'm speaking at the Beyond Binary conference  with an amazing line-up that I'm honored to be included in. In Chicago and on Zoom, Oct 7-8th. 


International history of sexuality blog Notches interviews me about my new book, nonbinary gender, Adam and Eve, and the gender of Jesus, among other topics.

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