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Katie Batza receives humanities research fellowship

Thursday, May 10, 2018

LAWRENCE — Katie Batza, assistant professor of women, gender & sexuality studies has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for research to be undertaken in the academic year 2018-19. The ACLS, one of the premier humanities-focused granting agencies, is a private, nonprofit federation of 75 national scholarly organizations that supports scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences.

Batza’s project explores how, early on in the AIDS crisis, the “Heartland” became a cultural and political battleground over sexuality, morality and citizenship. The disease inspired the infected, along with a dynamic cast of Native Americans, black communities, select religious groups and LGBTQ people within and beyond those groups, to fight AIDS and the phobias it fueled. The response proved complex and often contradictory as regional political and religious conservatism generated punitive legislation and anti-gay religious zealotry while members from numerous religious, racial and sexual communities collaborated to provide AIDS services and political organizing.

As the first in-depth historical study of this site, this work recasts a previously overlooked region as important in national AIDS history. The project argues that the respectability politics most resonant and effective in the politically and religiously conservative region molded local tactics and shaped national LGBTQ political goals and strategies for a generation.

“The 2018 ACLS Fellows hail from more than 50 colleges and universities, including several for which this is the first time a member of their faculty has received an ACLS Fellowship,” said Matthew Goldfeder, director of fellowship programs at ACLS. “Fellows were selected for their potential to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge, resulting from research on cultures, texts and artifacts from antiquity to the present, in contexts around the world.”

ACLS fellowships are highly prestigious and competitive awards. Peer reviewers selected this year’s 78 fellows from a pool of nearly 1,150 applicants.

University of Kansas humanities scholars have averaged an ACLS fellowship per year over the last 20 years.