The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History awards five prizes for outstanding work in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer history; prize descriptions are below. Calls for prizes are announced in the early summer of each year; submissions are due to prize committee members in the fall. The prizes are awarded each year in early January at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. The Boswell and Nestle Prizes are awarded in January of odd-numbered years for work published or written in the prior two years. The Bérubé, Lorde, and Sprague Prizes are awarded in January of even-numbered years for work produced, published, or written in the prior two years. Each prize comes with an award of $200. The CLGBTH funds the prizes, with the exception of the Bérubé Prize, which is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.
The John Boswell Prize for an outstanding book on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English. (Odd-numbered years, covering previous two years.)
The Joan Nestle Prize for an outstanding paper on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by an undergraduate student. (Odd-numbered years, covering previous two years.) The undergraduate paper prize is funded through a special fund established by CLGBTH’s lifetime members.
The Gregory Sprague Prize for an outstanding published or unpublished paper, article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by a graduate student. (Even-numbered years, covering previous two years.)
The Audre Lorde Prize for an outstanding article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English. (Even-numbered years, covering previous two years.)
The Allan Bérubé Prize for outstanding work in public or community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history. (Even-numbered years, covering previous two years.) The Bérubé Prize is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, CA.
The Don Romesburg Prize for outstanding K-12 curriculum in LGBT history. (Odd-numbered years, covering the previous two years.)
Congratulations to all our recent prize winners!
The following prizes were awarded at the American Historical Association Meeting held this January, 2020 in New York City. All three awards are awarded in even-numbered years, covering the previous two years. Our thanks to the members of the prize committees: on the Allan Bérubé Committee, Jennifer Brier (chair), Rachel Corbman, Eric Gonzaba and on the Audre Lorde/Gregory Sprague Committee, Zeb Tortorici (chair), Elliott Powell, and Sarah Watkins.
Allan Bérubé Prize
For outstanding work in public or community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history. The prize is underwritten by the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.
Prize Committee statement:
On the (Queer) Waterfront: The Factories, Freaks, Sailors, and Sex Workers of Brooklyn, the first comprehensive historical exhibition on LGBTQ life in Brooklyn, elegantly recasts the history of New York’s most populous borough as a site of long-standing and diverse LGBTQ communities. Meticulously researched and sophisticated in its approach to how gender and sexuality have changed over time as well as why they matter to urban history, it serves as a model for LGBTQ public history in the twenty-first century. On the (Queer) Waterfront exemplifies Allan Berube’s intellectual and political legacy: it makes queer history accessible and meaningful to broad and diverse audiences.
Audre Lorde Prize
For an outstanding article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history published in English.
Winner: Nic John Ramos, “Poor Influences and Criminal Locations: Los Angeles’s Skid Row, Multicultural Identities, and Normal Homosexuality,” American Quarterly, Volume 71, Number 2, June 2019, pp. 541-567.
Prize Committee statement:
A true interdisciplinary study, Ramos brings together urban history, political science, carceral studies, disability studies, and queer of color critique to the post-1965 policing of queer and trans homeless and mentally ill people of color in Los Angeles’ skid row district. Using the election of and policies under Mayor Tom Bradley as exemplary events marking the embrace of multiculturalism in Los Angeles, Ramos argues that the normalizing logics of race and sexuality of multiculturalism that sought to represent and define Black and gay people as “respectable” necessarily depended on the active (further) marginalization of queer, trans, working poor black and brown people to spaces like skid row. Ramos thus illustrates how multiculturalism is a site of racial and sexual liberalism and racial capitalism, and also a category of analysis through which historians might further explore and theorize the sexual politics of space.
Honorable Mention: Robert Franco, “‘Todos/as somos 41’: The Dance of the Forty-One from Homosexual Reappropriation to Transgender Representation in Mexico, 1945–2001,” Journal of the History of Sexuality, Volume 28, Number 1, January 2019, pp. 66-95.
Prize Committee statement:
In this article Franco returns to a key event in the history of homosexuality in modern Mexico—the 1901 police raid on a ball known as the Dance of the Forty-One, after which many homosexual and trans individuals were punished and exiled. But rather than focus on the event itself, Franco uses the dearth of historical records to show through deeply interdisciplinary analysis how the memories and legacies of that advance map onto cultural memory activism and the formation of national identity in Mexico. Franco convincingly shows how the events has taken on different valances at different historical moments. Between the 1940s and 1970s, the 41 was often invoked by artists and cultural commentators to speak to processes of homosexual identity formation and liberation. In recent decades however the 41 has been portrayed in erotica, gay pornography, and HIV/AIDS literature, emphasizing the eroticism of transgender bodies as well as the viewing pleasures of women. Franco shows how the 41 has accrued different meanings not just across time periods, but also across communities, showing how the cultural memory of the 41 is not simply a thing of cis men (gay and straight), but was also of importance to trans individuals and cis women.
Gregory Sprague Prize
For an outstanding published or unpublished paper, article, book chapter, or dissertation chapter on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer history completed in English by a graduate student.
Winner: Beans Velocci, “‘Unsolved Problems of Anomalous Sex’: Managing Sexual Multiplicity in Nineteenth-Century Animal Studies” (diss. chapter in “Binary Logic: Race, Expertise, and the Persistence of Uncertainty in American Sex Research,” Yale University, History Dept.).
Prize Committee statement:
Joining historians like Gabriel Rosenberg, Beans Velocci (in Chapter 1 of a dissertation titled “Binary Logic: Race, Expertise, and the Persistence of Uncertainty in American Sex Research”) compellingly makes a case for the centrality of animal studies to the history of sexuality. Velocci not only explicates the ways in which animal sex science studies made sex differentiation more fraught at the same time it sought to make it more fixed, but also how such science of human and non-human sexuality relied upon eugenicist knowledge production throughout the nineteenth century. In so doing, Velocci illustrates how a turn to animal studies gives us new tools and sources through which to analyze gendered hierarchies and racialized histories of human sexuality, both past and present. This is a theoretically provocative chapter that is deeply original in its use of sources and its analytical claims, showing how efforts at taxonomy often created far more problems than they solved, and how scientific knowledge production itself is inseparable from the hierarchical investments of those who carried out scientific studies.
Honorable Mention: Wigbertson Julian Isenia, “Looking for kambrada: Sexuality and social anxieties in the Dutch colonial archive, 1882–1923,” Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies 22:2 (2019): 125-143.
Prize Committee statement:
Isenia’s article showcases the methodological challenges (and rewards) of mining the colonial archives in the Caribbean for traces of same-sex sexual desire. Honing his analysis on the Papiamentu-language term kambranda (“comrade”)—which, in Curaçao, can refer to a non-sexual companion and to female same-sex erotic relationships— the author cogently traces how this term was deployed to articulate a series of anxieties around questions of race and emancipation, immigration and class, and morality and gender roles in Curaçao. Picking up on the postcolonial (archival) turn within queer and sexuality studies, Isenia’s engagement with Dutch colonial archival sources—including an 1882 anthropological study and a 1904 travelogue, both written in Dutch, and a 1923 novel written in Papiamentu—encompasses part of a broader “cultural archive” of same-sex desire under changing conditions of coloniality in Curaçao. For Isenia, these textual traces of kambranda women, not about recovering the experiences of women involved in such relationships but rather help articulate ideas about race and emancipation, social anxieties and patriarchy, and ideas about “respectability” and European civilizing missions in the wider Caribbean.
2020: Lorde/Sprague Committee: Zeb Tortorici (chair), Elliott Powell, Sarah Watkins
2020: Allan Bérubé Committee: Jennifer Brier (chair), Rachel Corbman, Eric Gonzaba
2019: Boswell/Nestle Committee: Rachel Hope Cleves*, J.T. Roane, Caroline Radesky; Romesburg Committee: Don Romesburg*, David Duffield, Wendy Rouse
2018: Lorde/Sprague Committee: Emily Skidmore (chair), Abraham J. Lewis, Linda Velasco. Bérubé Committee: Jennifer Tyburczy (chair), Joshua Buford, Katherine Ott
2017: Phil Tiemeyer*, Carson Morris, Afsaneh Najmabadi
2016: Lorde/Sprague Committee: James Green*, Chelsea del Rio, Stephen Vider; Bérubé Committee: Amy Sueyoshi*, Mark Bowman, Victor Salvo.
2015: Estelle Freedman*, T.J. Tallie, Mir Yarfitz
2014: Lorde/Sprague Committee: Kevin Mumford*, Emily K. Hobson, Anita Kurimay; Bérubé Committee: Jill Austin*, JD Doyle, Maria-Anna Tesliou
2013: Margot Canaday*, Cookie Woolner, Ben Cowan
2012: Sprague and Lorde: Thomas A. Foster*, Julio Cesar Capo, Claire Potter; Bérubé Committee: Kevin P. Murphy*, Marcia Gallo, Lauren Jae Gutterman, Joey Plaster
2011: Ellen Herman*, Chris Waters, Stephanie Gilmore
2010: Marc Stein*, Nicholas Syrett, Ellen Zitani
2009: John D’Emilio*, Amy Sueyoshi, Red Vaughan Tremmel
2008: Moshe Sluhovsky*, Christolyn Williams, Phil Tiemeyer
2007: Ramon Gutierrez*, Jennifer Evans, Daniel Rivers
2006: Vicki Eaklor*, Nan Alamilla Boyd, Don Romesburg
2005: John Howard*, Margaret McFadden, Pablo Ben
2004: Margaret Hunt*, Anne Rubenstein, Tim Retzloff
2003: John D’Emilio*, Lori Ginzberg, Robert Frame
2002: Chuck Middleton*, Margot Canaday, David Serlin
2001: Michael Sibalis*, Leisa Meyer, Christopher Capozzola
2000: Ellen Herman*, James Green, Victoria Thompson
1999: Allida Black, Bill Drummond, Terence Kissack
1998: John Fout, John Howard, Nancy Unger
1997: Linda Heidenreich, Leila Rupp, Michael Sherry
1996: Barry Adam, Leisa Meyer, Randolph Trumbach
1995: Vicki Eaklor, James Steakley, Marc Stein
1994: Steven Maynard, Eugene Rice, Leila Rupp