Jen Manion (they/them) is a social and cultural historian whose work examines the role of gender and sexuality in American life. Manion is Professor of History and Sexuality, Women’s & Gender Studies at Amherst College, an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society, a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and a Council member of the Omohundro Institute.
Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (Penn, 2015) which received the Mary Kelley Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic and Female Husbands: A Trans History (Cambridge, 2020) which was a finalist for the OAH Lawrence Levine Award for the best book in U.S. cultural history and recipient of the British Association of Victorian Studies best book prize. Jen is co-editor with Nicholas Syrett of a forthcoming two volume series, The Cambridge History of Sexuality in the United States, Vol. I: Early America and Vol. II: Modern America (expected 2024). Manion is co-editor with Jim Downs of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (2004) and has published nearly three dozen essays and reviews in U.S. histories of gender and sexuality.
Jen has been actively involved in countless efforts to promote LGBTQ history. Jen served on the board of the AHA committee on LGBTQ History, the OAH committee on the status of LGBTQ history and historians, the editorial board of Outhistory.org, the program committee of QHC19, the steering committee for the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, the advisory board of the Gale/Cengage Learning, “Sexuality & Gender Archives” Project, and advisor on the exhibition, That’s So Gay: The Not-So-Hidden History of Gayness in Early American Culture at the Library Company of Philadelphia. The Organization of American Historians named Manion a Distinguished Lecturer in 2018.
Jen serves on the editorial boards of the William and Mary Quarterly, Early American Studies, University of North Carolina Press, Gender and American Culture Series and formerly, Amherst College Press. Jen has also served on committees for the American Antiquarian Society, the American Historical Association, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. Jen has received numerous grants and awards including funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.
Jen received a PhD in history from Rutgers University and a BA in history with an English minor from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude. Female Husband to Jessica Halem.
The Performance of Transgender Inclusion
Don’t Pop the Champagne Yet on “They”
The Rightness of the Singular They
A Brief Twitter Thread….
Why Do You Call us Ladies?
Committees are for Straight People
The Tangled Web of Familial Homophobia
the carceral State
Prison Sex & Solitary Confinement
When White Liberals and Black Elites Make Things Worse
Histories of Sexuality and the Carceral State, part 1, part 2, part 3
Prisons Prior to Mass Incarceration: The Ideological Origins of Women’s Dependency
Transgender Children in Antebellum America
May we all be so brave
Press & Podcasts
- The New York Times, “Transgender Americans Feel Under Siege,” by Maggie Astor, 2022
- The Guardian, “Think being trans is a ‘trend’? Consider 18th-century ‘female husbands’,” 2021
- ABC News, “Why the LGBTQ community sidelined police for Pride,” 2021
- BBC History Extra, “The Big Questions of LGBTQ History,” 2021
- BBC History Extra, “What are the challenges of telling LGBTQ history?” 2021
- New Yorker, “The Gay Marriages of a 19th c Prison Ship,” 2020
- AHA Perspectives, “Singular They: Nonbinary Language in the Historical Community,” 2020
- New Now Next, “11 Queer Books we can’t wait to read this spring,” 2020
- LGBTQ Nation, “James Allen was declared a Female Husband,” 2020
- Interview, “Jen Manion on Female Husbands,” Sex Outloud with Tristan Taormino, 2020
- Interview, “Dr. Jen Manion author of Female Husbands,” The Estradiol Illusions Podcast, 2020
- Chicago Tribune, “He, she or they: How companies address calls for a gender-neutral workplace,” 2019
If you don’t have time to read the book….
LGBTQ+ Archival Collections
- GLBT Historical Society, SF
- Gerber Hart Library & Archives, Chicago
- Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection, Minneapolis
- John J. Wilcox, Jr Archives, Philly
- Lesbian Herstory Archives, NYC
- LGBT Community Center National History Archive, NYC
- ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, LA
- Stonewall Museum and Archives, Ft. Lauderdale
- The History Project, Boston
LGBTQ+ History Documentaries
SCOTUS Oct. 8, 2019
Was the US more progressive in embracing trans/gender nonconforming workers in 1908 than it is today? We’ll soon find out. #SCOTUS#RiseUpOctober8 Throughout history, trans people have been… Read more “SCOTUS Oct. 8, 2019”
Fall 2022 Events
Sept. 20 at 6pm EST “Issues Facing the Transgender Community,” with Alexander Chen, Jen Manion, Nicholas Opiyo, and Erica Chenoweth, The Forum, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy… Read more “Fall 2022 Events”
Professor of History and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies
111 Chapin Hall
Amherst, MA 01002
email: jmanion at amherst dot edu
Headshot by Code Purple Photography. Background Photos by Jen Manion: Cape Cod National Seashore Salt Pond Visitors Center, Eastham MA; American Antiquarian Society, Worcester MA; Paddington Station, London; Provincetown MA.