Gender historian receives book prize

A book co-edited by prominent University of Illinois at Chicago gender historian John D’Emilio has received an award from the American Historical Association.

John D’Emilio, professor of gender and women’s studies and history.

“My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, & Labor History,” co-edited by D’Emilio, professor of gender and women’s studies and history at UIC, and Stanford University historian Estelle Freeman, is a retrospective on the life and work of the late independent historian Allan Bérubé. It was awarded the 2013 Boswell Prize by the AHA’s Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History.

“My Desire for History” includes unpublished and little-known essays by Bérubé, who is considered a pioneer in the study of lesbian and gay history in the U.S. It highlights his efforts for social change and documents the emergence of a grassroots lesbian and gay community history movement through the 1970s and ’80s.

In addition to co-editing, D’Emilio and Freeman also wrote the introduction to the volume, published by University of North Carolina Press in 2011.

D’Emilio has devoted more than three decades to gay and lesbian issues, establishing himself among the field’s leading historians. He is a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and has produced many publications covering gay and lesbian studies and the history of sexuality and social movements. He was the founding director of the Policy Institute at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Boswell Prize recognizes an outstanding book on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and/or queer history published in English. It is named for John Boswell, a prominent Yale University professor of gay history who died of AIDS.

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