Rebecca M. Herzig

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