Breaking news from Ian Lekus, Chair of the Committee on LGBT History (affiliated with the American Historical Association):
Margot Canaday’s The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton University Press) has been awarded the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History’s 2011 John Boswell Prize. The John Boswell Prize is awarded for an outstanding book on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and/or queer history published in English during the two previous years.
The Prize Committee prepared the following commendation: “Canaday’s stunning analysis of the U.S. state during the twentieth century carves out a bold new place for sexuality at the center of political and legal history. Through a compelling series of case studies, The Straight State tells a story about the bureaucratic regulation of sexual and civic identities that are made problematic through their interaction with state actors and processes. Canaday’s insights about how federal power made homosexuality increasingly visible over time are sure to inspire fresh directions in work not only in GLBT history, but on citizenship and state-formation in history and beyond. This is a truly original book. Margot Canaday is an assistant professor of history at Princeton University.”
Cleverly using awards for scholarly excellence to recruit the young to homosexuality, the Committee also awards prizes to undergraduate historians. This year Shelley Grosjean has been awarded the 2011 Joan Nestle Undergraduate Prize for “A ‘Womyn’s’ Work is Never Done: The Gendered Division of Labor on Lesbian Separatist Lands in Southern Oregon.” The Nestle Prize is awarded for an outstanding paper on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and/or queer history completed in English by an undergraduate student during the previous two years.
The Prize Committee writes: “Shelley Grosjean’s well-written and persuasive exploration of lesbian lands in Oregon makes imaginative use of a wealth of wonderful sources: images as well as texts. She locates these utopian experiments in the contexts of 1970s lesbian feminism and back-to-the-land movements, moving easily between the experiential details of daily life and labor and the larger political, economic, and social forces that gave them meaning. Her paper illuminates not only the visions of community that motivated so many women; it helps to explain why their practical efforts to realize those visions met so many obstacles. Grosjean is an undergraduate at the University of Oregon.”
The Prize Committee also awarded an Honorable Mention to Bradley Milam for his essay, “Gay West Virginia: Community Formation and the Forging of a Gay Appalachian Identity, 1963-1979,” noting:
“Bradley Milam tells a moving and emotionally rich story about Appalachia, a part of the United States that has, to date, been almost invisible in GLBT history. Relying on oral histories, Milam’s paper counters the urban bias of so many gay community studies. He suggests that the elements of gay life and consciousness in West Virginia emerged in a chronologically distinctive fashion that may be more typical of rural areas. Even more provocatively, he argues that many gays and lesbians in the state resolved their identities not by leaving home, but by doing exactly what they were raised to do: attend church, form families, and adhere to traditional American values. Milam is a 2010 graduate of Yale University.”
The Prize Committee, chaired by Ellen Herman, included Chris Waters and Stephanie Gilmore.
Cross posted at Cliopatria.