The Stone-Suderman Prize, a $250 cash award, honors the best article published each year in American Studies. The prize affirms the quality of all the essays in the journal as it recognizes an outstanding published piece. It is named for former MAASA presidents Albert E. Stone and Elmer Suderman, two accomplished scholars and writers. Stone served as the Chair of the American Studies program at the University of Iowa from 1977-1983 and from 1985-1986. He has published and edited numerous books on American autobiography. Poet and literary scholar Suderman was a professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College until his retirement in 1998.
2015 (Vol. 54) Recipient
Michan Connor (University of Texas at Arlington) won for “Uniting Citizens after Citizens United: Cities, Democracy, and Neoliberalism”
The prize committee felt that Dr. Connor’s essay the most culturally and politically relevant piece of the year. They were impressed by his ability to draw the connections from the Citizens United decision to how many other Americans were making sense of the issue. Instead of surrendering to the negative outcomes of the case, Connor saw a way through Citizens United in that cities and municipalities could perhaps become empowered as First Amendment speakers as well, and that political movements should reengage with and try to reorient the local power of cities toward the needs of their inhabitants.
Michan Connor is an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is writing a manuscript addressing the relationships between political boundaries, power, and racial inequality in metro Atlanta.
2015 (Vol. 53) Recipient
Lori L. Brooks
Lori L. Brooks (Fordham University) won for “Journey to a Land of Cotton: A Slave Plantation in Brooklyn, 1895”
Brook’s article explores the racial discourse within the 1895 Black America pageant and the ways by which the pageant created opportunity for both African Americans and whites in New York to “speak back” to nostalgic racialized discourse. In particular, the committee appreciated the way in which Brooks reminds us that nostalgia tells us more about the present in which that nostalgia was conceived than the past it is supposed to represent. The prize committee also noted that it was impressed with the way that Brooks pushed the edges of current scholarship, using little-known source material, to create a piece of simply excellent, and evocative, writing.
Lori Brooks is an assistant professor in American Culture and Afroamerican Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This essay stems from her forthcoming book, to be published with NYU Press, and she is currently writing a history of black comediennes.
Bob Johnson, a cultural critic, historian, and Professor in the College of Letters and Sciences at National University, is the recipient of the Stone-Suderman Prize for Volume 52 (calendar year 2013) of American Studies for his article, “‘Typical of Her Race’: Cultural Pluralism and the Editorial Records of Survey Graphic.”
Susan Kollin, Professor and Director of English Graduate Studies at Montana State University, is the recipient of the Stone-Suderman Prize for Volume 49 (calendar year 2010) of American Studies. The selection committee deemed her article “Remember, you’re the good guy:’ Hildago, American Identity, and the Histories of the Western” to be an innovative contribution to literature on post-9/11 cinema. More specifically, the committee found particularly convincing her reading of the film Hildago (2004) as a Western constituent of a broader cinematic discourse on American identity after 9/11. The readers found intriguing your contention that the film “advances the idea of Arabs throughout the world as bereft of ‘having no future'” without collaborating with the West-in this case America.
Kristin L. Matthews
Dr. Kristin L. Matthews, Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Brigham Young University, is the recipient of the Stone-Suderman Prize for Volume 49 (calendar year 2009) of American Studies. The selection committee deemed her article “One Nation Over Coals: Cold War Nationalism and the Barbecue” to be an innovative contribution to Cold War historiography, as well as the history of 1950s culture. The committee found particularly persuasive her argument that barbecue served as “a source of stability or security” for Americans who struggled with domestic challenges to heteronormativity, patriarchy, masculinity, and race relations in an era where winning the Cold War loomed large in the national consciousness.
John Haddad, Associate Professor of American Studies and Popular Culture at Penn State Harrisburg, is the recipient of the Stone-Suderman Prize for Volume 49 (calendar year 2008) of American Studies. The selection committee deemed his article “The Wild West Turns East: Audience, Ritual, and Regeneration in Buffalo Bill’s Boxer Uprising” to be an innovative contribution to literatures on Buffalo Bill and the Boxer Rebellion. More specifically, the committee found intriguing his cultural analysis of William Cody’s attempt to make sense of the Boxer Rebellion to the American public by essentially rendering the “Chinaman” as “Indian”—that is, to present “The Rescue at Pekin” as another episode in the winning of the West akin to the Indian wars.
Colin R. Johnson
The Mid-America American Studies Association (MAASA) is pleased to announce that Colin R. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, is the winner of the Stone-Suderman Prize for the best essay published in Volume 48 (calendar year 2007) of American Studies. His essay, “Camp Life: The Queer History of Manhood in the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1937” argues that CCC camps were sites of negotiation over the meaning of masculinity in the 1930s, concluding that “life in the CCC was anything but straight and narrow.”
The award committee noted the essay’s range of relatively untapped New Deal sources—including newspaper articles, photographs, and cartoons—that contest prevailing assumptions about the CCC by bringing to light practices ranging from drag performances to linguistic play. In addition, Johnson argues that understandings of gender and sexuality were created and contested not only in urban areas that are most often the focus of scholarship on queer masculinity; rural locations also function as spaces for forging masculinities.
Johnson earned his Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan. His research interests include rural life, cultural geography and land use, and the history of technology and agriculture. A version of the essay will be included in a manuscript tentatively titled The Little Gay Bar on the Prairie: Gender, Geography and the Invention of Sexuality in Non-Metropolitan America.