Sam Lebovic is a historian of American politics and culture, with particular interests in mass media, democracy, civil liberties, and the role of the U.S. in the world. He received his BA (First Class Honors) from the University of Sydney in his native Australia and his PhD (with distinction) from the University of Chicago. Before coming to George Mason, he held postdoctoral fellowships at Rutgers University and NYU.
His first book, Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America, was published by Harvard University Press in 2016. A comprehensive history of press freedom in theory, law, and practice from the dawn of the twentieth century until the present, the book argues that the First Amendment right to free speech has been insufficient to guarantee a free press. Exploring problems ranging from the rise of state secrecy to the corporate consolidation of the newspaper industry, the book uses the history of press freedom to ask new questions about the role of the press in American democracy, and to better explain the crises that beset today’s press during the “war on whistleblowers” and the ongoing death of the daily newspaper.
Lebovic has also published articles on the role of the media in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, on the history of the Fulbright program, on the politics of pop culture in the 1940s, and on the Beatles and cultural globalization.
His current research interests include the institutional and intellectual history of cultural globalization, the policing of international travel through passport regulations, the politics of public opinion in American democracy, and the intellectual history of the “audience” in America.
Lebovic currently serves as the Associate Editor of the Journal of Social History.
Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America (Harvard University Press, 2016)
“Here, There, and Everywhere': The Beatles, America, and Cultural Globalization, 1964-1968,” Journal of American Studies (forthcoming)
“Limited War in the Age of Total Media” in Understanding the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ed. Beth Bailey and Richard Immerman (NYU Press, 2015)
“‘A Breath from Home’: Soldier Entertainment and the Nationalist Politics of Pop Culture During World War II,” Journal of Social History, December 2013
“From War Junk to Educational Exchange: The WWII Origins of the Fulbright Program and the Foundations of American Cultural Globalism, 1945-1950,” Diplomatic History, April 2013
Graduate: Cultural Globalization, History of the U.S. State, Global Migrations, American Internationalism.
Undergraduate: History of the American Media, The U.S. and World Power, Cold War America, Introduction to World History.