Dr. Hanne Blank Boyd


Dr. Hanne Blank Boyd is a historian and writer whose interdisciplinary work lies at the intersection of bodies, selves, and cultures.  Her fascination with the ways bodies—and all that we experience and enact through them—help to create us as members of cultures with highly specific individual and social identities have led her to work on topics ranging from fatness to heterosexuality and feminist health to virginity.

Dr. Blank Boyd received the Ph.D. in History at Emory University, where she was also trained in bioethics at the Emory Center for Ethics.

Hanne Blank headshot

She is the author or editor of ten books that include Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality (Beacon Press), Virgin: The Untouched History (Bloomsbury), and most recently FAT (Bloomsbury, 2020).   She publishes as Hanne Blank.

Dr. Blank Boyd has been a guest instructor, lecturer, and community advocate at institutions including Emory Healthcare, the Emory University School of Medicine,  Emory University, Harvard University, Congregation Bet Haverim, Dickinson College, Bloomsburg University, the Virginia Festival of the Book, St. Mary’s College, Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota College of Art and Design, and many others. 

Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies department at Denison University,  Dr. Blank Boyd teaches courses including “Issues in Feminism,” “How Sexuality Shaped America,” “Women, Bodies, and the Making of Medical Knowledge,” and “Being Lesbian: Same-Sex Loving Women in the U.S. from 1800-2000” as well as advising research students.

Dr. Blank Boyd lives in a small town in central Ohio with her spouse, a liberal distribution of dogs and cats, and ever-expanding collections of books, fountain pens and inks, lipstick, and yarn.  Since 2016, Dr. Blank Boyd has also been committed to a social-media based activist project, the Reasons Not to Quit (#reasonsnottoquit), which provides daily doses of politically progressive, affirming mental and social health support to all via Twitter.

“…informative, funny and provocative.”

Publishers Weekly

Cover of Hanne Blank's book FAT

© Hanne Blank

“Blank is open and honest about her own life throughout, she doesn’t share in order to titillate or provoke or posture or impress. She doesn’t urge us to think well of her, or poorly — nor does she include unnecessary information. Blank wields the personal…” 

Los Angeles Review of Books

Most Recently

FAT  is Hanne Blank’s entry in the celebrated Object Lessons series, published in November 2020.

Public enemy. Crucial macronutrient. Health risk. Punchline. Moneymaker. Epidemic. Sexual fetish.  Moral failing. Necessary bodily organ. Conveyor of flavor. Freak-show spectacle. Never mind the stereotype, fat is never sedentary: its definitions, identities, and meanings are manifold and in constant motion. In a culture in which fat is demonized in medicine and public policy, adored by chefs and nutritional faddists (and let’s face it, most of us who eat), simultaneously desired and abhorred when it comes to sex, and continually courted by a multi-billion-dollar fitness and weight-loss industry, it’s ironic that for so many people, “fat” is nothing more than an insult or a wail of despair. In Hanne Blank’s book we find fat as state, as possession, as metaphor, as symptom, as object of desire, intellectual and carnal. Here, “feeling fat” and literal fat merge, blurring the boundaries and infusing one another with richer, fattier meanings.




Currently Working On 

Southern Women, Feminist Health documents twenty-five years in the annals of five southeastern U.S. feminist women’s health organizations.  With a broad view of the part played by these organizations in popularizing feminist health priorities and clinical practices throughout the southeast, this monograph delves deep into relationships between politics, place, and women’s bodies. 


Our Bodies, Our Shelves assesses the practice-changing, industry-altering effects of  the vast for-women, by-women health literature that emerged in the United States beginning in the late 1960s. This literature has transformed American women’s expectations and understandings of bodily experience and well-being. Activist women, including feminist and lesbian-feminist women, Black, Latina, older, fat, and (dis)abled women, literally wrote an entirely new women’s health literature into existence, transforming mainstream American women’s expectations of what it means for women to be involved in their own healthcare, with far-reaching effects on women’s lives and the U.S. medical landscape.






Curriculum Vitae

With impeccable research and detail, Hanne Blank uncovers the fascinating, often hidden, history of heterosexuality. Straight is a marvelous cultural history that is as entertaining as it is profoundly enlightening and necessary for understanding the world in which we live.

Michael Bronski




Listen to Hanne Blank on the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast

Hanne talking with Jaclyn Friedman on Unscrewed

Hanne on Nerdist.com with Sandra Daughterty

Chiming in alongside Jo Paoletti on Gimlet’s “Every Little Thing”

With Tristan Taormino on “Sex Out Loud”