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Kimberly Hamlin receives Emerging Scholars Award

03/26/2013

Kimberly Hamlin
Kimberly Hamlin
Kimberly Hamlin, assistant professor of American studies and history and affiliate of women's, gender and sexuality studies, received the Nineteenth Century Studies Association's (NCSA) Emerging Scholars Award.

The award recognizes an outstanding article or essay published within five years of the author’s doctorate. Hamlin’s article, “The Case of a Bearded Woman: Hypertrichosis and the Construction of Gender in the Age of Darwin,” appeared in the American Quarterly 2011. It compares the medical discussions and treatments of the “disease” of hypertrichosis (“superfluous hair” in women), which was considered an epidemic from the 1870s to the 1910s, with the concurrent popular fascination with bearded ladies in the circus.

“I argue that both were manifestations of Americans’ ambivalence about evolutionary theory and the ways it challenged or complicated pre-existing ideas about the supposedly ‘natural’ boundaries separating men from women and humans from animals,” said Hamlin. “If beards were supposed to distinguish men from women and if lack of hair distinguished humans from animals, how, then, were hirsute women to be classified and understood?"

Hamlin joined the faculty in American studies and history after receiving her doctorate in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. Her research focuses on the intersections of science, religion and gender.

The NCSA is an interdisciplinary association for the study of nineteenth-century world cultures. Founded in 1979, the association provides a forum to encourage interdisciplinary exchange.

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