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Humanities professors win book publication awards

Monday, April 10, 2017

LAWRENCE — Marie Brown, assistant professor of history, has won the 2017 Vice Chancellor for Research Book Publication Award for her upcoming work "Khartoum at Night: Fashion and Body Politics in Imperial Sudan," to be published by Stanford University Press. The annual award is administered by the Hall Center for the Humanities.

The Friends of the Hall Center provide support for a second faculty publication. Catherine Batza, assistant professor of women, gender & sexuality studies, received the Friends Book Publication Award for "Before AIDS," to be published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

Brown’s book is the first history of northern Sudanese women’s lives under British imperialism. It argues that women’s experiences of empire were expressed on and through their bodies. From 1898 to 1956, amidst the upheaval of imperial rule, a generation of young Sudanese women performed a careful choreography of body movements to adapt to imperial morals, claim opportunities for civic engagement and affirm a new standard of modern Sudanese womanhood.

Applying theories about using the body and dress for political reasons, "Khartoum at Night" demonstrates how the sweeping economic and sociopolitical systems of empire were manifested on female bodies. The book presents a highly participatory, physical narrative of empire, characterized by economic and cultural exchange, public mobility and civic opportunity, and evolving measures of beauty and womanhood.

The University of Kansas Office of Research sponsors the Vice Chancellor for Research Book Publication Award. It assists in the publication of meritorious book manuscripts by KU faculty members in the humanities.

Batza’s book "Before AIDS" recasts much of the existing historical narrative of AIDS while also contributing to scholarly understandings of the 1970s, the relationship between sexuality and the state and the interconnectivity of social movements during this period. By unearthing the emergence of several local gay community health clinics in the early 1970s and the resulting national professional organizations and research collaborations that proved crucial to the early AIDS response, the book extends the historical timeline of the early AIDS response backward a full decade. In this way, "Before AIDS" transforms the history of AIDS in the United States to acknowledge the pivotal role of pre-existing gay health clinics as well as the lasting effect of the local political contexts from which these clinics emerged.

Adding the history of the 1970s into the AIDS narrative makes clear that gay communities had much greater concern for their sexual health, much stronger relationships with both gay and mainstream medical providers, and significantly more developed political and medical infrastructures heading into the AIDS crisis than any scholarship within the multidisciplinary AIDS literature currently suggests.

Batza’s award is made possible by the Friends of the Hall Center, an organization of faculty, community members, and students who support the Center’s programs.

Migration Stories: Africans in Midwestern Communities

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. With close to 10,000 African immigrants living today in the heartland metropolitan centers of Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Wichita and Garden City, a new project entitled “Migration Stories” will facilitate the sharing of migration stories about Africans within Midwestern communities. Visit to learn more. 

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