David Boies Professor of History
Brown’s scholarship, which is characterized by novel approaches to the examination of issues of racial and gender hierarchies—particularly in colonial settings—and 19th-century attitudes, has offered important new insights to scholars and students of gender, race, and history. In her first book, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, for which she received the American Historical Association’s John H. Dunning Prize, Brown innovatively examined gender and racial hierarchies through the prism of ordinary life rather than through reigning ideologies and official pronouncements. Similarly impactful, her second book, Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America, which is a cultural history that traces the moral, religious, and sexual implications of attitudes toward dirt and cleanliness during the period between Europe’s Atlantic encounters and the American Civil War, received both the Lawrence W. Levine Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Book Award.
Brown has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has taught for Penn’s Center for Africana Studies Summer Institute, and she has served on several committees, in the Department of History; at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies; and in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.