2011 Joan Nestle Prize winner announced

March 11, 2011 in Announcements by CLGBTH

Shelley Grosjean, “A ‘Womyn’s’ Work is Never Done: The Gendered Division of Labor on Lesbian Separatist Lands in Southern Oregon” has been awarded the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History’s 2011 Joan Nestle Undergraduate Prize. The Joan Nestle Undergraduate 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 2011 Prize Committee was chaired by Ellen Herman and included Chris Waters and Stephanie Gilmore.

In reaching its decisions, the Prize Committee prepared the following commendation:

“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.”

UPDATE: You can read Grosjean’s and Milam’s essays on the Nestle Prize page.

For further information, contact Committee on LGBT History Chair Ian Lekus. Click here for a list of past Joan Nestle Prize winners, and click here to learn about the Committee on LGBT History’s other prizes.