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Amy Werbel, PhD


Office Location: Business and Liberal Arts Center, Room B650
Phone: (212) 217-4673
E-mail:  amy_werbel@fitnyc.edu   

Amy Werbel joined the department in 2013 as a specialist in art of the United States. She is the author of numerous works on the subject of American visual culture and sexuality, including Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (Columbia University Press, 2018), which was praised in Kirkus Reviews as "an incisive history of the futility of censorship;" and Thomas Eakins: Art, Medicine, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia (Yale University Press, 2007), which was designated an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine and praised in The New England Journal of Medicine as “a rigorous academic review that is readable and enjoyable.”

Dr. Werbel is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from numerous institutions, including the Frick Center for the History of Collecting, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. She served as a Fulbright Scholar for 2011-2012 at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China, where she taught American studies and art history courses to graduate and undergraduate students, and lectured throughout the mainland on topics including censorship. Her self-published book, Lessons from China: America in the Hearts and Minds of the World’s Most Important Rising Generation (2013), reflects on these cross-cultural experiences.


BA, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges
PhD, Yale University

Dr. Werbel's CV (PDF) 

Selected Publications


Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock (New York: Columbia University Press,  2018).

Lessons from China: America in the Hearts and Minds of the Worlds Most Important Rising Generation (Self-published. Printed by CreateSpace, 2013). 

Thomas Eakins: Art, Medicine, and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007). Read reviews.


Should She Stay or Should She Go?The uplifting, but ultimately cynical saga of Fearless Girl 3rd Dimension (January 08, 2018).

“Imagining the Future of Monuments to the Confederacy,”Sculpture Review 357 (Winte 2017).

“Removing Monuments Won’t Fix our Problems,”History News Network (October 8, 2017).

Book Review.Ben Shahn’s New Deal Murals: Jewish Identity in the American Scene, Diana L. Linden. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2015).

In Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 3.1 (Summer, 2017).

“Lifting the Lid on Cigar Boxes at Winterthur”Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 2.2 (Fall, 2016).

“For Our Free Speech, We Have Censors to Thank,”The Chronicle of Higher Education LXII, no. 3 (September 18, 2015): A56.

"'The Crime of the Nude:' Anthony Comstock's Raid on the Art Students League of New York and the Origins of Modern American Obscenity" Winterthur Portfolio 48, no. 4 (Winter, 2014): 249-282

Book Review. An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing The Gross Clinic Anew, edited by Kathleen A. Foster and Mark S. Tucker (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2012). In The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 138 (April, 2014): 224-226.

Book Review. Bonnie Tocher Clause. Edward Hopper in Vermont, Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 2012. Vermont History Journal 81, no. 1 (Winter/Spring, 2013): 126-128.

Tales from the Vault, Common-Place Journal (October, 2010). 

Thomas Eakins: Last of the Art Crusaders, in Kathleen A. Foster, ed., Thomas Eakins Drawing Book (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005): 27-44.

For Our Age and Country, Nineteenth-Century Art Education at Central High School, in Central High School Alumni Exhibition (exh. cat., Philadelphia: Woodmere Art Museum, 2002): 6-12.

Thomas Eakins's Early Years, in Thomas Eakins: American Realist (exh. cat., Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001): 1-12.

The Foley Food Mill, in Jules David Prown and Kenneth Haltman, eds., American Artifacts: Material Culture Theory and Method (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2000): 229-242.

Art and Science in the Work of Thomas Eakins: The Case of Spinning and Knitting, American Art 12, no. 3 (Fall, 1998): 31-45. 

Upcoming Lectures

“Researching the Influence of Art Censorship on New York City Collectors in the Gilded Age,” Frick Center for the History of Collecting Fellows’ Forum, New York City, May 9th, 2018.

“Regulating / Selling Sex in Nineteenth-Century New York,” Joint Annual Meeting on Law and Society, Toronto, June 7, 2018.

“Lessons from 1915: Why We Cannot Retreat from the Fight for Academic Freedom” AAUP Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education, Arlington VA, June 15, 2018.

“New York City Defense Attorneys, Anthony Comstock, Artists, and the Emergence of the First Amendment, 1873-1915,” New York City Bar Association, New York City, June 21, 2018.

"Lust on Trial" History Book Festival, Lewes DE, September 28-29, 2018.

“The Past, Present, and Future of American Free Speech: A Conversation with Nadine Strossen and Daniel Levinson-Wilk,” Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, October 23, 2018.