Nicholas Syrett

International & Interdisciplinary Studies - Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Professor and Chair
Primary office:
Blake Hall
Room 320
University of Kansas
1541 Lilac Lane
Lawrence, Kansas 66045


Nicholas L. Syrett is a Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the incoming chair of the department. He earned his A.B. in Women's and Gender Studies at Columbia University and his Ph.D. in American Culture at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on gender, sexuality, and childhood in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States. He is a coeditor of Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present (2015) and the author of two books: The Company He Keeps: A History of White College Fraternities (2009) and American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States (2016). He has also published essays on queer history in American Studies, Genders, GLQ, the Journal of the History of Sexuality, and the Pacific Historical Review. He currently serves as a book review editor for the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth and as a co-chair of the Committee on LGBT History, the national organization for the study of queer history. Prior to joining the faculty at KU, he taught for eleven years in the History Department at the University of Northern Colorado.

Education

Ph.D., Program in American Culture, University of Michigan

Graduate Certificate, Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

M.A., Program in American Culture, University of Michigan

A.B., Women’s and Gender Studies, Columbia University

Teaching Interests

  • Women's and gender history
  • Queer history
  • Politics of marriage and family

Research

Syrett is a historian of gender, sexuality and childhood in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States. He is currently working on two projects: (1) a biography of a same-sex couple (Robert and John Allerton) who lived as father and son during the first half of the twentieth century and (2) a book on the life and times of Madame Restell, the most famous abortionist in nineteenth-century New York City.

Research Interests

  • Gender and sexuality in the 19th- and 20th-century United States
  • Histories of childhood
  • Sex and gender in the law
  • Marriage

Service

Syrett is the current Chair of the WGSS Department. He is also a Co-Chair of the Committee on LGBT History, an AHA affiliate society, and a book review editor for the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. He sits on committees for the Organization of American Historians and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

Selected Publications

Syrett, N. (2016). American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Syrett, N. (2015). Statutory Marriage Ages and the Gendered Construction of Adulthood in the Nineteenth Century. In C. T. Field & N. L. Syrett (Eds.), Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present (pp. 103-123). New York: New York University Press.

Syrett, N. (2015). Age in America: The Colonial Era to the Present (N. Syrett & C. T. Field, Eds.). New York: New York University Press.

Syrett, N. (2014). Screening the Queer Past: Teaching LGBT History with Documentary Films. In L. J. Rupp & S. K. Freeman (Eds.), Understanding and Teaching U.S. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender History (pp. 331-342). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Syrett, N. (2014). The Contested Meanings of Child Marriage in the Turn-of-the-Century United States. In J. Marten (Ed.), Children and Youth During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (pp. 145-165). New York: New York University Press.

Syrett, N. (2014). Mobility, Circulation, and Correspondence: White Queer Men in the Midcentury Midwest. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 20(1-2), 75-94.

Syrett, N. (2013). Lord of a Hawaiian Island’: Robert and John Gregg Allerton, Queerness, and the Erasure of Colonialism on Kaua‘i. Pacific Historical Review, 82(3), 396-427.

Syrett, N. (2013). 'I did and I don’t regret it’: Child Marriage and the Contestation of Childhood in the United States, 1880- 1925. Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 6(2), 314-331.

Syrett, N. (2012). Queering Couplehood: Robert and John Allerton and Historical Perspectives on Kinship. Genders, 55.

Syrett, N. (2012). A Busman’s Holiday in the Not-So-Lonely Crowd: Business Culture, Epistolary Networks, and Itinerant Homosexuality in Mid-Twentieth Century America. Journal of the History of of Sexuality, 21(1), 121-140.

Syrett, N. (2009). Who Is Teaching Women’s History?: ‘Insight,’ ‘Objectivity,’ and Identity. In C. Berkin, M. Crocco, & B. Winslow (Eds.), Clio in the Classroom: A Guide for Teaching U.S. Women’s History (pp. 267-278). New York: Oxford University Press.

Syrett, N. (2009). The Company He Keeps: A History of White College Fraternities, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Syrett, N. (2007). The Boys of Beaver Meadow: A Homosexual Community at 1920s Dartmouth College. American Studies, 48(2), 9-18.


Calendar Events
Follow Us

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today