Geoffrey Escoffier, health official and gay theory researcher, dies at 79

And he wrote extensively. Many of his essays, as he puts it in the introduction to his 1998 book The American Homosexual: Community and Perversity, “explore the social significance of post-World War II homosexual emancipation and the political backlash it elicited in American public life.”

This included excavating the history of gay life before Stonewall, as well as the economic and other aspects of it. It also included an examination of gay pornography, its changes over the decades, and how it reflected and helped shape gay identity. His latest collection of essays, published last year, was called Sex, Society, and the Making of Pornography: The Pornographic Object of Knowledge.

“Jeffrey Escoffier epitomized the radical queer public intellectual,” Whitney Strub, an assistant professor at Rutgers University in Newark, whose books include Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right (2010), wrote in an email. “In particular, in essays such as The Political Economy of the Closet, he showed how to think and write gay economic history, even when its archives were often erased or destroyed. Later, his pioneering work on pornography encouraged scholars to move beyond textual analysis and think about the work behind the bodies on the screen.”

Geoffrey Paul Escoffier was born on October 10th. September 9, 1942 in Baltimore, grew up in Manhattan and Staten Island. His father, George, was an army colonel, and his mother, Iris (Miller) Wendel, owned an antique shop.

“I had my first homosexual experience at the age of 16 in the summer of 1959. Escoffier wrote in The American Homosexual. “After that, I yearned for wild adventures. Growing up on Staten Island, aware of my strangeness in its sleepy working-class communities, I saw Greenwich Village as Shangri-La.”

mr. Escoffier received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University. He moved to Philadelphia in 1970 and completed his PhD in economic history from the University of Pennsylvania.