An American History of Race, Gender, and Hair

Lecture | October 13 | 12-1 p.m. | Wheeler Hall, Maude Fife Room, Third Floor

 Sarah Gold McBride, Visiting Lecturer, Department of History, UC Berkeley

 Department of History, Cal Alumni Association

How did something as ordinary as hair affect major U.S. institutions like slavery and the women’s rights movement? In the 19th century, American people from different regions, class backgrounds, racial groups, and religious traditions shared the belief that hair exposed the truth about the person from whose body it grew. This talk will reveal this surprising history, exploring why a bearded lady could undermine women’s claims for equality and how an examination of a single strand of hair under a microscope could mean the difference between enslavement and freedom.

Sarah Gold McBride’s teaching and research focus on the social and cultural history of 19th-century United States. She has also worked extensively with K–16 history pedagogy: how history is taught in K–12 and college classrooms, and the bridge between these two levels. This talk is drawn from her current book project, Whiskerology: Hair and the Legible Body in Nineteenth-Century America.

This event is part of Reunion & Parents Weekend at Homecoming.

 All Audiences

 history@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0016