Zane L. Miller Prize Recipients 2013

The Department of History announced the Zane L. Miller prizes for this year’s best graduate papers at the spring awards ceremony.  First Prize, which comes with a $500 award, went to first-year doctoral student Alyssa McClanahan.  Her paper, “‘Take the Toys from the Boys!’ Anti-Nuclear Feminism and the Women’s Liberation Movement,” offers a fascinating glimpse into the struggles among feminist groups.  Taking the anti-nuclear feminists as her lens, McClanahan concludes, “Movements like anti-nuclear feminism were the main heirs to women’s liberation of the late 1960s and 1970s.”  While her careful analysis lays bare how the diverse feminist presuppositions and agendas got in the way of a unified movement, her  insightful conclusion suggests that lack of homogeneity does not equal dysfunctionality, but rather connotes a vibrant, stimulating, and ongoing feminist discourse.
Second Prize, with a $250 award, went to first-year doctoral student Nathan McGee.  His “‘Renfro Valley Is Your Community Too’: A Modern Vision of the Past at Renfro Valley, 1937-1950” offers an intriguing examination of the rich material on the emerging radio culture and radio host John Lair.  McGee shows the powerful draw of Lair’s juxtaposition of the fleetingness of the city with the timelessness of the country. But McGee also demonstrates the tensions underlying Lair’s broadcast of “good, old, American values” associated with hardworking American farmers through a thoroughly modern medium, the radio.
Third Prize, and its $125 award, went to David Weyhe, who earned his Master’s degree this spring. His beautifully written paper, “‘Wasnatürlichist, kannnichtunmoralischsein: Magnus Hirschfeld, Cosmopolitan Right, and the World League for Sexual Reform 1921-1935,” takes us into the world of the interwar period and its initiatives regarding sexual reforms.  Weyhe’s careful study of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and the series of international congresses on sexual reform demonstrates the extent to which Hirschfeld’s scientific, cosmopolitan, pan-humanist ideas shaped the contents and conduct of the congresses.