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Sean Trainor

Graduate Student

Office: 115 Pond Laboratory
Mailing: 108 Weaver Building
Penn State University

University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, History & Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, 2015
  2. MA, Pennsylvania State University, 2011
  3. BA, The George Washington University, 2007


I am an historian of gender, labor, popular culture, and the body in the early American republic. My dissertation, which I successfully defended in June of 2015, is entitled Groomed for Power: A Cultural Economy of the Male Body in Nineteenth Century America. It examines the rise and fall of the nineteenth-century ‘beard movement,’ showing how four communities of body workers were instrumental in the emergence of this dramatic development in men’s fashion.

My work has appeared in Early American Studies, The Atlantic, Time , The Appendix, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, and U.S. Studies Online. I’ve held fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the American Antiquarian Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Filson Historical Society. And I’ve been invited to discuss the history of men’s grooming with Backstory radio, New Hampshire Public Radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, I have taught courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, modern American history, and the labor history of the United States – both in-person and online – and have served as a teaching assistant for a variety of courses ranging from introductory-level U.S. history surveys to modern European history.

You can find me on Twitter at @ess_trainor.

Research Interests:

Cultural History, Body History, Gender and Sexuality, Class and Capitalism, Early American Republic, Urban History, Fashion and Appearance, Popular Science, Consumer Culture.
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