Kimberly A. Hamlin is a cultural historian specializing in women, gender, sex, science, and politics. She is the James and Beth Lewis Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she has taught History and American Studies since 2007. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award, Hamlin regularly contributes to the Washington Post and other media outlets, and she lectures widely on topics related to women and gender. Her latest book, Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener (2020), reveals the remarkable story of the “fallen woman” who changed her name, reinvented herself, and became the “most potent factor” in Congressional passage of the 19th Amendment as well as the highest-ranking woman in federal government. Hamlin was actively involved in local and national suffrage centennial activities including guest editing, together with Professors Cathleen Cahill and Crystal Feimster, a special suffrage centennial issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. She is currently working on a history of the temperance movement that centers sex, sexual assault, and sexually transmitted disease. Hamlin’s first book, From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (2014), analyzes the U.S. reception of Darwin in terms of gender and provides the first full-length study of women’s responses to evolutionary theory. Hamlin has received the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics, the Margaret Rossiter Prize for Research on Women/Gender and Science (from the History of Science Society), and the Emerging Scholar Award from the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, in addition to research fellowships from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Huntington Library, the Sophia Smith Collection, and others. Hamlin has also published on the origins of the Miss America Pageant, the Girl Scouts, bearded ladies, women running for president, the Equal Rights Amendment, and contributed to various PBS documentaries.
This interactive talk imagines what the grand narratives of American history would look like if told from the perspective of women. What would our history books and monuments look like if they centered women’s experiences and contributions? What kind of nation would we be if, for example, our $20 bills featured Harriet Tubman instead of Andrew Jackson? Highlighting key moments in U.S. women’s history and several ongoing initiatives to commemorate women’s lives, this talk argues that the stories we tell about women’s history shape women’s opportunities today.