The Baldy Center staff includes faculty, research faculty, administrators, and students who focus on supporting and fostering innovative research in law, legal institutions, and social policy.
Samantha Barbas is the Director of the Baldy Center. 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.
Barbas is the author of three books on media law and history: Laws of Image: Privacy and Publicity in America (Stanford University Press, 2015); Newsworthy: The Supreme Court Battle Over Privacy and Press Freedom (Stanford University Press, 2017); and Confidential Confidential: The Inside Story of Hollywood’s Notorious Scandal Magazine (Chicago Review Press, 2018). She is currently at work on a biography of civil liberties lawyer Morris Ernst, forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press. Barbas is also the author of Movie Crazy: Fans, Stars, and the Cult of Celebrity (Palgrave Macmillan 2001) and The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons (University of California Press 2005). Read more.
Caroline Funk is the Associate Director of the Baldy Center. She is responsible for activating the agenda and decisions of the Director, and she manages all activities in the Baldy Center. Previously, she served as the Baldy Center Research Associate, assisting Baldy-affiliated faculty to develop funding proposals.
Funk holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a specialization in Arctic Archaeology. She has a Research Assistant Professor appointment in UB’s Department of Anthropology, and her work has been profiled in UB’s alumni magazine At Buffalo. She has worked in multidisciplinary and multinational teams in Russia, Portugal, and Alaska to research the intersection of cultural and environmental histories. Caroline currently leads and collaborates in federally funded multidisciplinary research which focuses on the history of human-environmental dynamics in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Her published works and academic history can be viewed on her C.V.
Laura Wirth is the Assistant Director of the Baldy Center. She holds a masters degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She collaborates with Baldy Center staff to develop and support Baldy Center projects, fellows, research, and conferences.