Associate Professor of History
Director, LGBTQ Resource Center
Joined Connecticut College: 2006
B.A., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., Rutgers University
• The history of sexuality • Early American history • Social justice movements
Jen Manion has been nationally recognized for her work at Connecticut College as director of the LGBTQ Resource Center, as the College was named one of the Top 25 LGBTQ Friendly Colleges and Universities in the country by the Huffington Post/Campus Pride in 2013. Jen teaches Crime & Punishment in U.S. History, the History of Sexuality, Global Queer Histories, Social Justice Movements, and the Introduction to U.S. History.
Connecticut College recognized Manion for her social justice work on campus with the 2010 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award. In 2007, Manion was the founding director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Resource Center (LGBTQ Resource Center) at Connecticut College, only the second center of its kind in the state.
Manion was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in 2012-2013 to begin research for the project, "Crossing Gender in the Long 19th Century." Some of her research is available at http://crossinggender.tumblr.com/. This project, once conceived as a historical examination of the concept of female masculinity, is becoming more of an examination of cultural representations of transgender experience and efforts throughout history to distinguish men from women. The new manuscript is now tentatively titled, "American Transgender Histories: from Revolution to Civil War," and touches on popular female soldier/sailor narratives, children's literature, newspaper reports, court cases, and novels. Her most recent work, a brief essay titled "Transbutch," was published in the first issue of the new journal Transgender Studies Quarterly in Spring 2014.
Manion's book "Liberty's Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America" will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in September 2015. The book shows the connections between the establishment of democracy, the abolition of slavery, and the expansion of the penal state and the implications for racialized and gendered ideologies of freedom, resistance, and dependency. Her essay, "Historic Heteroessentialism and Other Orderings in Early America," was published in "Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society" and examines the state of the field of women's history in the early period. Her book, "Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism," (co-edited with Jim Downs, Routledge, 2004), is a collection of essays about the strength of movements that have organized for social justice and the struggle to document and pass on these histories.
Manion served a three-year term from 2008-2011 on the Governing Board of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender History, an affiliate group of the American Historical Association. Manion is committed to the advancement of queer history, believing knowledge of the past is crucial to future liberation. As a graduate student, Manion held a dissertation fellowship at the prestigious McNeil Center for Early American Studies at The University of Pennsylvania, as well as a year-long seminar fellowship at The Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers University.
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"Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience." – Howard Zinn