Albert E. Stone (left) and Elmer Suderman (right)
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.
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 2009 Stone-Suderman Prize for the best essay published in Volume 48 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.