The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction is pleased to announce the 2011 John Money Fellowship for Scholars of Sexology has been jointly awarded to Jill Weinberg of Northwestern University, and Anastasia Jones of Yale University. Indiana University student Katherine Schweighofer was awarded an Honorable Mention.
Jill Weinberg is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University. Her project The Politics of Diagnosis: Law, Medicine and the Shaping of Gender Identity examines the interplay between law, medicine, and the construction of gender identity.
Her research starts with a premise rooted in the sociology of medicine: psychiatric diagnoses written by medical professionals are shaped not just by scientific research but also by social forces. Her project traces the contested-nature of gender identity disorder (GID), how it plays out within the medical profession, and what occurs when these narratives enter the legal arena. Her research will examine the give-and-take relationship between society and medical practice and how this ultimately informs the law and litigants, specifically, and the public, more broadly, of identities are deemed normal or deviant. She will be using the John Money, Charles Ihlenheld and Harry Benjamin collections to examine the history and development of GID, both the diagnosis itself and also the standard of care associated with it.
In addition to her work on GID, she researches the regulation of sexual practices within and across medical and legal institutions in the United States. By comparing two categories of sexual disorders (paraphilias and sexual dysfunction) with a non-sexual psychiatric disorder, this project unpacks the medical and legal discourses concerning “abnormal” or “pathological” sexual practices and the circumstances in which the law sanctions these practices in spite of being constitutionally protected.
Anastasia Jones is a doctoral candidate in the History department at Yale University. She has been awarded the 2011 John Money Fellowship at the Kinsey Institute to further research on her dissertation, “The Normal Lesbians: Sexual Desire between Women and the Growth of Modern Sexual Categories in U.S. Culture, 1920-1940.”
This project addresses various frameworks for comprehending and depicting sex and desire between women in U.S. interwar culture, including the romantic friendships of middle-class college girls and their older professional counterparts, the sexual bohemianism of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde, the unstable femininity of “normal” married women, and the so-called degenerate perversions of working girls (especially women of color), prisoners, prostitutes, and the numerous women of urban “bawdy” culture and the entertainment industry.
Anastasia will be using the broad range of relevant materials at the Kinsey Institute—including popular novels and “high” literature, press accounts, letters and diaries, feminist and reform texts, and medical and psychological publications—to elucidate how intimate relationships between women were explained, rationalized, supported, and disseminated in popular discourse before lesbian identity solidified—and why and when that solidification occurred. While at the Kinsey Institute, Anastasia will also be producing an annotated bibliography—including an introductory essay—highlighting materials in the collection relating to female homosexuality in the interwar period. It is hoped that the finished product, which will address both canonical and lesser-known texts, will be useful to both the beginning and experienced researcher interested in women’s sexuality.
Katherine Schweighofer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University.
The volumes of unsolicited correspondence received by Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s and 50s created a queer community of support and information. The “Dear Dr. Kinsey” letters, as they are called, include thousands of individual letters addressed to Kinsey on a wide variety of topics: for these letter writers, Kinsey serves as a personal confidante, counselor, information source, forwarding service and even dating connection. Kinsey actively nurtures this queer community, both sending individual responses to thousands of separate questions, but also developing contacts and broadening the circle of communication in groups of people he found particularly interesting for his research. In this project, I map these connections that form community support and structures for queer-identified individuals in ways not traditionally understood as community. These alternative forms of community challenge us to reconsider how we define queer communities, and how the geographies of distance, disruption, and difference might affect the way we view our acts, desires, bodies, and identities. Kinsey provides a magnetic center to this diverse assemblage of voices, presenting an opportunity to deepen our contemporary understanding not just of Kinsey-era history, but of today’s queer communities, identities, and lives.
For more information about the John Money Scholarship for Students of Sexology, please visit our webpage here.
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