My first book, Whiskerology, examines the power and significance of hair in the nineteenth-century United States.
Whiskerology argues that during the nineteenth century, men and women from different regions, class backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, and religious traditions shared an extraordinary faith in the revelatory and diagnostic power of hair. Hair was popularly understood to be capable of quickly conveying important information about a stranger’s identity or character—in some contexts even more reliably than other bodily indices that have traditionally dominated the study of group and individual identity in modern American history, such as skin color. Hair could thus reveal truths that a person otherwise sought to conceal.
Whiskerology is under contract with Harvard University Press.
Giving a lecture on my research at
The Exploratorium museum in San Francisco.