Samantha Barbas researches and teaches in the areas of legal history, First Amendment law and mass communications law. Her work focuses on the intersection of law, culture, media and technology in United States history. Her recent research has explored the history of the law of privacy and defamation.
Barbas holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She was previously an assistant professor of history at Chapman University, a visiting professor of history at U.C. Berkeley, and a lecturer at Arizona State University. She clerked for Judge Richard Clifton on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was recently appointed an adviser to the American Law Institute on its Third Restatement of Torts: Defamation and Privacy.
Barbas is the author of five books on media law and history: Confidential Confidential: The Inside Story of Hollywood’s Notorious Scandal Magazine (Chicago Review Press, 2018), Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle Over Privacy and Press Freedom (Stanford University Press, 2017), Laws of Image: Privacy and Publicity in America (Stanford University Press, 2015), The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons (University of California Press 2005), and Movie Crazy: Fans, Stars, and the Cult of Celebrity (Palgrave Macmillan 2001). Her books have been reviewed in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other major media outlets. Barbas’ work has also appeared in several law reviews, including the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. She is frequently quoted in the national press on topics related to privacy, libel, and free speech. Barbas is currently at work on a biography of civil liberties lawyer Morris Ernst, under contract with the University of Chicago Press.