Fellowships and Awards Winners 2008

Awarded to the best dissertation (defended
within 2006-07) in LGBTQ
Studies by a PhD candidate within
the CUNY system
Amount: $1000
Winner: Stephen Amico
Stephen Amico was awarded the Monette-
Horwitz prize for his dissertation “Blue
Notes: Gay Men and Popular Music in
Contemporary Urban Russia.” Based in
part on fi eldwork undertaken in both St.
Petersburg and Moscow, the dissertation
analyzes the ways in which sexual identity
is both productive of and produces
popular music discourses in Russia, often
in connection with spatial and corporeal
dynamics relating the subject to either
a “local” or “global” “gay culture.” The
study fi nds that discussions of sexual identity
relying exclusively upon the linguistic
(often connected to the political) domain
are insuffi cient to fully illuminate the sexual
subject in modern, globalizing society,
and that a richer understanding of identity
can be obtained through an examination
of the modalities of expressive culture.

Awarded to the best paper written in a CUNY or SUNY class on any
topic related to LGBTQ experiences
Amount: $250
Winner: Ellen Zitani
Ellen Zitani, a third year student at the Graduate Center’s Department of History,
won the 2007 CLAGS Graduate Student Paper Award. Her paper, “Love Letters to
Lina Poletti from Sibilla Aleramo: Understanding Conceptions of Same-Sex Love
and Gender Identity in Early-Twentieth-Century Italy,” reconstructs the history of
Aleramo and Poletti’s relationship to see how Aleramo, a famous Italian feminist
author, struggled to understand her love for Lina as well as Lina’s masculine gender
expression. The letters also indicate that contemporary feminist, medico/legal,
sociological, criminological and anthropological discourses infl uenced Aleramo’s
beliefs, and provide a rich backdrop to what has been portrayed up until now as a
mundane and doomed love story. Additionally, this love story had never before been
told in its entirety; other researchers focused only on one particular part of their two
years together. By looking at the whole picture, their relationship takes on a much
greater signifi cance than the two-year “blip” in the life of one of Italy’s most famous
writers. Zitani teaches 19th and 20th Century European History at Hunter College.

Awarded to the best paper written in a CUNY or SUNY class on any
topic related to LGBTQ experiences
Amount: $250
Winner: Aubrie Dillon
Aubrie Dillon, a recent graduate of CUNY Hunter College, won the undergraduate
student paper award for her paper “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming
People: Gendered Dress, School, and Employment.” This paper examines case law
regarding discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in
schools and workplace. It also critiques the legal theories and ambiguous defi nitions
based on rigid constructions of sex and gender that permit and promote discriminatory/
exclusionary practices. Ultimately the paper suggests a number of necessary
legal changes because people’s life experiences often do not fall neatly within one
of the two categories of sex or gender, and the lack of legal protection is unjust,
oftentimes illegal, and ultimately unconstitutional. Aubrie currently resides in
Washington, DC and is a Policy Fellow at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. She
volunteers and takes classes at the DC Dance Collective and performs regularly with
the DC Kings, an avant-garde gender performance-art troupe. Next fall she will
enroll in law school at Boalt Hall in Berkeley, CA.

Given to a CUNY Graduate Student presenting on
LGBTQ subject matter in their field for US or international
Amount $250
Winner: Robert Azzarello
Robert Azzarello holds a Chancellor’s Fellowship in the Ph.D.
Program in English at the Graduate Center. His dissertation,
tentatively titled “Queer Environmentality: On Melville,
Cather, and Barnes,” studies the intersection between queer
theory and environmental philosophy in the work of Herman
Melville, Willa Cather, and Djuna Barnes. His CLAGS travel
award will support a panel he has organized on “Queer Nature”
for the NeMLA convention in Buffalo. Its aim is to find ways
to alleviate queer theory’s frustration with the naturalization
of nature, especially the violent repercussions of naturalizing a
heteronormative nature, by exploring the profound queerness at
the heart of the human and other-than-human world.

Given for the best book or article to appear in transgender
studies this year (May 2006-June 2007)
Amount $1000
Winners: Paisley Currah and
Robert M. Juang, co-editors,
Transgender Rights
The first comprehensive work on the transgender civil rights
movement in the United States. With analysis from legal and
policy experts, activists and advocates, Transgender Rights assesses
the movement’s achievements, challenges, and opportunities for
future action. Examining crucial topics like family law, employment
policies, public health, economics, and grassroots organizing,
this groundbreaking book is an indispensable resource in
the fight for the freedom and equality of those who cross gender
boundaries. Moving beyond media representations to grapple
with the real lives and issues of transgender people, Transgender
Rights will launch a new moment for human rights activism in
America. Includes articles by: Kylar W. Broadus, Judith Butler,
Mauro Cabral, Paisley Currah, Dallas Denny, Taylor Flynn,
Phyllis Randolph Frye, Julie A. Greenberg, Morgan Holmes,
Richard M. Juang, Bennett H. Klein, Jennifer L. Levi, Shannon
Price Minter, Ruthann Robson, Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson,
Dean Spade, Kendall Thomas, Paula Viturro, and Willy Wilkinson.