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George Chauncey is the recipient of the 2022 Kluge Prize in Humanities

The Library of Congress Kluge Prize recognizes and celebrates work of the highest quality and greatest impact that advances understanding of the human experience.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced on June 22, 2022 that historian George Chauncey is the recipient of the 2022 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.

Chauncey is the first scholar in LGBTQ+ studies to receive the prize. He is known for his pioneering 1994 history “Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940,” his 2004 book “Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality,” and his testimony and other work as an expert witness in more than 30 court cases related to LGBTQ+ rights. These include such landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases as Romer v. Evans (1996), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and the marriage equality cases United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).

“Gay New York,” released in 1994 during the 25th anniversary of the LGBTQ+ rights protests at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, looks at the gay community in New York City before World War II. Chauncey utilizes newspapers, police records, oral histories, diaries, and other primary sources to show that there was a much more vibrant and visible gay world than previously believed and to argue that there was a permeable boundary between straight and gay behavior, especially among working-class men. “Gay New York” won numerous prizes for its scholarship including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Studies.

“Why Marriage?” draws on Chauncey’s extensive research prepared for court cases in which he provided expert testimony. It traces the history of both gay and anti-gay activism and discusses the origins of the modern struggle for gay marriage.

Chauncey has edited several books and journal issues, published numerous academic articles, and written for news outlets including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Village Voice.

Get to Know George Chauncey

For more information: 
New York Times Article



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