The theme of the CLAGS Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships for 1995-6, “The History and Practice of Gay and Lesbian Politics,” attracted some forty applicants for the two $37,000 awards. The quality of the applicants was, as in the previous two years, very high and necessitated prolonged deliberations by the jury of non-CLAGS affiliated scholars and activists. The members of the jury were Tomas Almaguer, Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan; Elizabeth Kennedy, Professor of American Studies at SUNY-Buffalo; Sandy Lowe, Esq.; Shane Phelan, Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico; and Colin Robinson, Executive Director of Gay Men of African Descent. The two winning entries were from Nan Alamilla Boyd and Jeffrey Edwards.
Nan Alamilla Boyd is currently an Assistant Professor in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She teaches Queer Studies, Feminist Theory, Latina Studies and U.S. Women’s History. A graduate of Brown University, she recently completed her dissertation on the history of San Francisco’s lesbian and gay communities through the 1950’s. Her current research•; and the work she will be doing with the Rockefeller Fellowship, is an ethnographic study of the social and political spaces where lesbian and transsexual/transgendered populations overlap. More specifically, this project seeks to document the role ideas about the body play in the development of transgender and lesbian political movements.
The second winner, Jeffrey Edwards, received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota and is currently teaching at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His book, Transforming Racism: The Black Movement and Racial Reform in Detroit, will be published next year by Temple University Press. He has been a member of ACT-UP Chicago since 1988, working for the past several years with the Prison Issues Committee. He has been awarded the Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship for his project, “City Politics and the Trajectory of Lesbian-Gay Political Development: New York City and San Francisco, 1969-present.” His study takes up the question of how one can bring about political and policy reform in a way that both improves people’s everyday lives and propels a movement forward, rather than co-opting it. It will take the form of a comparison of New York City and San Francisco, focusing particularly on two cycles of mass militancy, the one that developed immediately after Stonewall and that ended in relative political inclusion in San Francisco and exclusion in New York City, and the one that began around 1987 in response to AIDS, in which New York City was the center of mass militant street activism, and San Francisco was presumably a model of government-community cooperation.