Faculty Bio

Susan Hiner

Professor of French and Francophone Studies on the John Guy Vassar Chair and Chair of French and Francophone Studies

Susan Hiner received her M.A. and Ph.D. in French Literature from Columbia University after completing her B.A. in French and English (Modern Studies) at the University of Virginia. Professor Hiner's research and teaching interests include women and material culture in nineteenth-century France, fashion studies, and the intersection of literature, visual culture, and social history. She also teaches in the Women's Studies Program. 

Professor Hiner has published articles on various aspects of nineteenth-century French culture and has received grants relating to both her current research on women and fashion in nineteenth-century France and to curricular development. Her first book, Accessories to Modernity: Fashion and the Feminine in Nineteenth-Century France, about women's fashion accessories and their relation to French modernity, was released in June 2010 from the University of Pennsylvania Press and won the Millia Davenport Publication Award of the Costume Society of America in June 2011.


In Spring 2015, she was a Visiting Fellow of the American Library in Paris where she was researching a new book project entitled "Behind the Seams: Women, Fashion, and Work in Nineteenth-Century France." She was awarded an NEH fellowship to continue work on this project in 2016-17. She is recently the author of a chapter in A Cultural History of Fashion (Bloomsbury 2016) and a catalogue essay in Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, which accompanied an exhibit by the same name at the St. Louis Art Museum and the Legion of Honor in San Francisco in 2017.

You may visit the Vassar YouTube channel to view Professor Hiner's Art Talk on Adèle Romany's "Portrait of the Artist's Family," on exhibit at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery. In Spring 2018, Professor Hiner will be co-curating, with Elizabeth Nogrady of the FLLAC and a student scholar, in collaboration with Vassar's Costume Shop and Archives and Special Collections, a Faculty Focus exhibit revolving around women's fashion accessories in nineteenth-century Paris.


You may also view collaborative student projects from Professor Hiner's intermediate language course (206), which is delivered through children's literature by following this link: digital storytelling projects