Eric William Denby

 Eric Denby

Contact Information

309 Gregory Hall
810 S Wright
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801
PhD Student, Graduate Instructor
View CV


I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign with a focus on 20th century LGBT Youth rights. My masters thesis (completed in May of 2015 at Western Michigan University) is titled Fighting for Inclusion: The Origins of Gay Liberation at the University of Michigan. I explore the ways in which a gay and lesbian community sought to create institutional acceptance in the early 1970s.

I am interested in how communitieshave constructed identities and navigated queer spaces in response to oppression, repression,and marginalization, and the acts of resistance that they actively engaged in,both individually and collectively.  My upcoming dissertation will explore the activism and resistance of LGBTQ highschool students during the post-World War II period, with an emphasis on thevarious ways they were excluded from the social, cultural, and political spheres.

Prior to pursuing my college education, I held a variety of positions in marketing, communications, public relations, and sales. The majority of my career was spent in the music industry, mainly as an in-house talent buyer for national and regional entertainment.

Research Interests

  • LGBTQ Social and Political Movements
  • Modern U.S. History
  • Women, Gender, & Sexuality
  • US and the World

Research Description

I am currently interested in LGBTQ activism, resistance, and oppression in middle and high school students between 1965 and 1990.


  • Bachelor of Science, History, Central Michigan University
  • Master of Arts, History, Western Michigan University

Distinctions / Awards

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent and Outstanding based on ICES Scores, Fall 2016, Spring 2017


  • History Department Summer Pre-Dissertation Research Travel Grant, University of Illinois, 2017
  • The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History Travel Grant
  • The Virginia Karnes Archives and Special Collections Travel Grant
  • The Bordin-Gillette Fellowship, Bentley Historical Library


  • HIST200: Intro to Historical Int, "A Queer United States"
  • HIST101: History Now, LGBT Civil Rights from the Streets to the Supreme Court
  • HIST203: Reacting to the Past: US Riots, Revolutions, and Revolts
  • HIST171: US History to 1877
  • HIST172: US History Since 1877