Paul Renfro

Associate Professor of History
Paul Renfro

Contact Information

Paul Renfro studies the United States since 1945. He earned his PhD in history from the University of Iowa, where he was a Louis Pelzer Dissertation Fellow. Before arriving at Florida State University in 2018, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Renfro is the author of Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State (Oxford University Press, 2020) and the coeditor of Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945 (University of Georgia Press, 2019). He has also published in Feminist Studies and Disability Studies Quarterly. Renfro's public writing has appeared in TIME, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Slate, Dissent, Teen Vogue, Jacobin, and other outlets, and he has been interviewed for stories in ELLE, the New Yorker, Jezebel, The Appeal, Salon, and Mother Jones.

Renfro’s next book, The Life and Death of Ryan White: AIDS, Inequality, and America, will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2024.

Spring 2024—The United States in the Twenty-First Century (AMH 3279-1); Senior Seminar: The US since 1979 (HIS 4935-1)

Fall 2023—America in the 1990s (AMH 3930-2); Graduate Colloquium: The United States since 1968 (HIS 6934-5)

Research Interests

Post-1945 US, Political and Cultural History, Gender/Sexuality, the Carceral State, Childhood and the Family


Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood and the American Carceral State

Beginning with Etan Patz's disappearance in Manhattan in 1979, a spate of high-profile cases of missing and murdered children stoked anxieties about the threats of child kidnapping and exploitation.

Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945

Growing Up America brings together new scholarship that considers the role of children and teenagers in shaping American political life during the decades following the Second World War.