Grants Cap Decade of Research at the Human Sexuality Collection

Contact: Brenda Marston
Phone:  (607) 255-3530

Three New Grants Cap Decade of Research at the Human Sexuality Collection
Zwickler Projects Cover Gay Consumer Culture, Politics of Knowledge and More

ITHACA, N.Y. (May 16, 2011) – Three researchers studying topics ranging from gay consumer culture to the politics of knowledge will receive financial assistance to come to Cornell University Library this year to use the Human Sexuality Collection. 

Now in their 10th year, the Phil Zwickler Memorial Research Grants have resulted in 33 researchers working in the Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC). These awards made it possible for one independent researcher, one undergraduate, 14 graduate students and 17 faculty members to dig into Cornell’s primary sources, first-hand accounts and rare books. 

This year’s projects include:

  • Alyssa Ann Samek, graduate student in communication, University of Maryland: “Crafting Queer Identity and Envisioning Liberation at the Intersections: A Rhetorical Analysis of 1970s Lesbian-Feminist Public Discourse.” 
  • Scott de Groot, graduate student in history, Queen’s University, Canada: “Out of the Closet and into Print: Gay Liberation and the Politics of Knowledge.” 
  • David K. Johnson, associate professor of history, University of South Florida: “Buying Gay: Consumer Culture and Identity Formation before Stonewall.” Johnson also won a Zwickler grant as an untenured faculty member in 2006; that research resulted in an article published last summer in the “Journal of Social History.”

“Our whole purpose is to make it easier to study sexuality,” said Brenda Marston, curator of the Human Sexuality Collection. “It’s so rewarding to see the ways these researchers have come here and gotten people thinking.” 

Research about the changing attitudes toward human sexuality sparks conversations and results in radio interviews, speeches, articles and books exploring sexual and transgender identity, community formation, marriage, media portrayals, sexual violence and pornography. 

“Over the decade that we’ve been awarding these grants, we’ve seen the individual winners advance in their careers and their research advance our thinking about these fascinating topics,” Marston said.

The Phil Zwickler Charitable and Memorial Foundation makes the grant program possible. It honors filmmaker and journalist Phil Zwickler, who died at age 36 after documenting the AIDS crisis and the struggle for lesbian and gay rights.

“It's great to be able to facilitate in-depth research that draws on the Human Sexuality Collection,” said Kate McCullough, associate professor of English and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, who served on the grant review committee this year. “It's such an important collection of documents, and has been fundamental for the past 20 years to work on sexuality across the disciplines. We're lucky to have it at Cornell, and lucky to have the funding to help bring scholars here to use it.”

Visit the website to learn more about the Zwickler grants and find information about past winners.

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Three researchers studying topics ranging from gay consumer culture to the politics of knowledge will come to Cornell