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 U.S. history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She was previously a 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.
Barbas is the author of six books: The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst: Free Speech Renegade (University of Chicago Press, May 2021); 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 and the Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets. In 2020, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award for her book in progress, on the Supreme Court First Amendment case New York Times v. Sullivan. She is an adviser on the Restatement of the Law (Third) of Torts: Defamation and Privacy.
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 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. Dr. Funk 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.
BLOG HOST/PRODUCER 2021-22
Julia Merante, a second-year law student at the University at Buffalo School of Law, is host/producer for the 2021-22 Edition of The Baldy Center Blog. At this time Merante is the Vice President of the Jessup International Moot Court, a Human Rights Fellow at Legal Aid, a Student Ambassador, and an Associate of the Buffalo Environmental Law Review Journal. The award-winning poet and essayist graduated SUNY Geneseo summa cum laude with a Bachelors Degree in English, Biology, and Human Development. Merante plans to become a public interest advocate, and then become an educator to continue engaging in important, legal scholarship.
PODCAST HOST/PRODUCER, 2021-22
Edgar Girtain is host/producer of the 2021-22 Edition of The Baldy Center Podcast. He is a PhD student in the music department at SUNY Buffalo, where he studies with David Felder. Girtain is a director of the Casa de Las Artes at the University of Southern Chile (UACh), and president of the Southern Chilean Composers Forum (FoCo Sur). Girtain is an eminent composer, pianist, and writer of his own biographies. His diverse areas of work are often collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and international in ambition if not in practice.
Aldiama Anthony, JD 2021
UB School of Law JD 2021
Blog Producer, Magazine Writer
UB College of Arts & Sciences Honors College, BA expected 2021
Social Media Producer, Magazine Writer
Caroline Funk, PhD
Associate Director, The Baldy Center
Executive Producer, Multimedia
Cecilia Meyer, BA
UB School of Law, JD expected 2021
Magazine Writer and editorial staff, podcast transcriber
Azalia Muchransyah, PhD 2021
UB Department of Media Study
Laura Wirth, MS
Assistant Director, The Baldy Center