Rebecca Herzig

Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies


Gender and Sexuality Studies

Pettengill Hall, Room 209


Rebecca Herzig is the author or editor of several books, including Suffering for Science: Reason and Sacrifice in Modern America, The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics (with Evelynn Hammonds) and the series, Feminist Technosciences  (co-edited with Banu Subramaniam).  Her most recent monograph, Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, was named a “Best Book of the Year” by the Economist magazine and the Science Friday radio program, and a finalist for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Literary Award for Nonfiction.  Herzig’s most recent essay, “Hygiene,” appears in the Routledge History of American Sexuality.  She is currently writing a book about the past(s) and future(s) of higher education.

A frequent contributor to popular media, Herzig’s interview with Alok Vaid-Menon may be found here, and her appearance on Adam Ruins Everything here.

Excerpts from reviews of Plucked:

“[A]n interesting, serious, and meticulously researched contribution to American history.”

— Journal of American History

“[A] fascinating new book…very timely.”

— The Times (London)

“Read on. This book is astonishing.”

— Press Herald (Portland)

“[W]ho gets to decide what torture is?  When, Herzig wonders, does a practice cease to be unpleasant and become cruel? Many would answer ‘when it is involuntary’, but that begs a crucial question: What is ‘voluntary’?”

Wall Street Journal

“Rebecca Herzig manages to explore issues of race and gender, class and religion, power and commerce, with both intellectual rigor and a healthy sense of humor.”

— Boston Globe

“Herzig…lays bare a global network among petroleum production, migration, and personal grooming decisions—which, in her analysis, are never simply personal but rather interwoven with the economy, the environment, and animals.”

 — Women’s Review of Books

“By its title, Plucked would seem to offer a volume of frothy fun (tinged with schadenfreude) about the high cost of fashion glory; it turns out to be eye-poppingly informative, thought-provoking and, almost against the author’s will, frothy fun.”

— Maclean’s