Profile image of Holly Grout

Holly Grout

Associate Professor


  • PhD, University of Wisconsin, 2008

Research Areas

  • European History
  • Gender and Women’s History


Research Interests

  • History of Modern France
  • History of Women and Gender
  • Cultural and Intellectual History of Modern Europe
  • History of the Body
  • History of Consumption and Consumer Culture
  • History of Beauty and Fashion
  • History of Celebrity

Current Projects

  • Playing Cleopatra: Inventing the Female Celebrity in Third Republic France examines, how, by playing Cleopatra on the Paris stage, Sarah Bernhardt, Colette, and Josephine Baker engaged broader debates regarding the meaning of womanhood, celebrity, and Frenchness in the tumultuous decades before World War II. In the context of late nineteenth-century Egyptomania, Cleopatra’s eroticized image as well as her controversial legacy of female empowerment resonated in new ways with a French public engaged in reassessing feminine sexuality, racialized beauty, and national identity. Bernhardt, Colette, and Baker, I argue, embodied the myriad ways that celebrity was racialized, gendered, and commoditized. They also generated a model of female stardom that set the stage for twentieth-century celebrity long before Hollywood mass manufactured “stars.”

Courses Taught

  • BUI 102 Blount Foundation: Possibilities
  • HY 102 Western Civilization since 1648
  • HY 106 Honors Western Civilization since 1648
  • HY 349 Modern France since 1760
  • HY 365 European Consumer Society
  • HY 405 Outraged Europe: Scandals and Controversies at the Fin de Siècle
  • HY 497 Undergraduate Research Seminar: Fifteen Minutes: Fame, Celebrity, and Stardom in the 20th Century
  • HY 497 Undergraduate Research Seminar: Social and Cultural History of the Long 19th Century
  • HY 497 Undergraduate Research Seminar: Fashion and Beauty in Modern Europe
  • HY 448 European Women’s History
  • HY 603 (Graduate) Literature of European History Seminar
  • HY 635 (Graduate) Seminar in European Gender History
  • HY 665 (Graduate) Writing Seminar

Selected Publications



  • “‘Le miracle et le mirage’: Beauty Institutes and the Making of Modern French Women,” Journal of Business History, Special Issue Paper in Gender, Feminism, and Business History: from Periphery to Centre (September 2020). DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2020.1820989
  • Celebrity Matters,” Aeon 16 July 2019.
  • “Authorizing Fictions: Narrating a Self in Mistinguett’s Celebrity Memoir,” French Historical Studies, Issue 42, Number 2 (April 2019): 295-322. DOI:
  • “Between Venus and Mercury: The 1920s Beauty Contest in France and America,” French Politics, Culture, and Society Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring 2013): 47-68. DOI:

Essays and Reviews

  • Book Chapter in progress, “Making the Body Beautiful,” in Paul Deslandes ed. A Cultural History of Beauty, Volume Five: The Age of Empire, 1800-1900. Bloomsbury Press. (forthcoming)
  • “European Celebrity in Historical Perspective,” Journal of Contemporary European History. Vol. 28 – Special Issue 2 (May 2019): 273-282.
  • Book Review Essay: “Reading Modern Women,” The Journal of Women’s History 29 (Spring 2017): 197-206.
  • Book Review Essay: “Exceptional Women: Rights, Liberty, and Deviance in the French Revolution,” Feminist Collections 30 (Summer 2009): 6-9.