James Polchin is a writer, cultural historian, and a Clinical Professor in Liberal Studies at New York University. He is also an Instructor at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation. He teaches in areas of creative nonfiction, LGBTQ history, visual culture studies, and crime narratives. His previous faculty appointments include the Princeton Writing Program, the Parsons School of Design, and the New School. For a number of years he taught at NYU sites in London, Paris, and Florence. 

His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Slate, TIME, Huffington Post, UK, Paris Review, Rolling Stone, NewNextNow, The New InquiryLambda LiteraryBrevity, and The Smart Set. He is a contributing writer to the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide. His book Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall was published in 2019 by Counterpoint Press in the US and Icon Books in the UK.

Born in Baltimore, and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., he earned a B.A. from the University of Maryland, an M.A. from both the American University and Drew University, and a Ph.D. from New York University. He splits his time between Provincetown, Massachusetts and New York City, where he lives in a 300 square foot tenement apartment in Hell's Kitchen with his partner, the photographer Greg Salvatori, and a Labrador named Albert