Announcing the Inaugural Winner of Kraft-Kinsey Award

Yael Massen

The Kinsey Institute is pleased to announce Yael Massen as the inaugural winner of the Kraft-Kinsey Award for MFA Students.

Dr. Samrat Upadhyay, Martha C. Kraft Professor of the Humanities, and Liana Zhou, Director of Library and Special Collections at the Kinsey Institute, are thrilled with the newly established The Kraft-Kinsey Award. The award of $1,000 is made possible through partnership between Kinsey Institute and the Creative Writing Program at Indiana University, and funded by the Martha C. Kraft endowment.

The Kraft-Kinsey Award supports a writing project by an Indiana University MFA student that makes substantial use of the Kinsey Institute’s materials and archives. The award is a unique opportunity for emerging writers to give voice to issues of human sexuality, as exemplified by the Kinsey Institute and its collections, while simultaneously discovering new connections between human sexuality and art. The possibilities are as vast as the Kinsey’s holdings: the writer could examine human sexuality in its behavioral, biological, cultural, historical, artistic, or social forms.

Yael Massen is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Indiana University, currently working on a thesis manuscript that confronts sexual violence: intergenerational acts of dehumanization written into the codes and structures of current institutions. The center of her creative project is concerned with how consent, or lack of consent, is interpreted in environments supportive of rape culture, and speaks these cycles of human rights abuses into cultural recognition and existence. Although widely regarded as one of the most heinous crimes, survivors of sexual violence are consistently invalidated in service of patriarchal and white supremacist economic and social structures that uphold cultural mythologies of how best to assume the role of victim.

In order to extend the trajectory of her manuscript beyond her personal experiences with sexual assault, as both a survivor and Victim Advocate, Yael will engage with legal documents and correspondences from the era of suffrage and segregation. This includes research on the development of gynecological and evidentiary exam tools, such as the Sims Speculum, created as a result of the exploitation of women of color, and anti-immigration social policy drafted in response to sexual panics, such as the 1907 Indiana Eugenics Law, the world’s first and a model for the Nuremberg Race Laws.

For nearly 70 years, the Kinsey Institute has been a trusted source for investigating critical issues in sex, gender and reproduction and advancing sexual health and knowledge worldwide. Recently, under new leadership, it has rebranded its mission: to explore love, sexuality and well-being through diverse research. The Kinsey Institute Collections encompass print materials, film and video, fine art, artifacts, photography, and archives that focus on human sexuality. The Institute has collected publications, objects, art, and data from six continents, and its holding span more than 2,000 years of human history and run the gamut of technologies—from ink on paper, to DVD and digital records. A pioneer in sexual research, Alfred Kinsey is considered one of the most important Americans of the 20th century for his role in bringing about the sexual revolution of the sixties.

For more information about the Kraft-Kinsey Award for MFA Students, please contact Dr. Samrat Upadhyay, Martha C. Kraft Professor of the Humanities, at 812-856-5882 or supadhya@indiana.edu.  

 

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