Phil Zwickler Memorial Research Grant News

News about the 2002 grants

May 22, 2002

Cornell Library Awards Research Grants for Human Sexuality Projects

Ithaca, NY

Cornell University Library has announced the winners of its first Phil Zwickler Memorial Research Grants. Made possible by support from the Phil Zwickler Charitable and Memorial Foundation, the grants provide financial assistance to scholars for expenses incurred when they come to Cornell to conduct research on sexuality with sources in the library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC).

Zwickler, a filmmaker and journalist who devoted his talents to communicating ideas about lesbian and gay rights and the AIDS crisis, died in 1991 at age 36. Documentation of his life and work are preserved in Cornell's Human Sexuality Collection, which seeks to encourage the study of sexuality and sexual politics by preserving and making accessible relevant primary sources that document historical shifts in the social construction of sexuality.

"The quality and number of applications for these first grants is a testament both to the vitality of this burgeoning field of research and the need for funding of this sort," said Brenda Marston, curator of the library's Human Sexuality Collection.

The proposals from Leisa D. Meyer and William B. Turner stood out because they were from accomplished scholars who already had book contracts for major studies of sexuality. Both also planned extensive research visits to Cornell to use the library's Human Sexuality Collection.

However, funds were not available to fully support both scholars until Martha Fineman, the Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Feminist Jurisprudence and director of the Gender, Sexuality and Family Project, decided to finance one of the projects from the Dorothea S. Clarke Fund. The $1,300 Clarke grant was awarded to Leisa D. Meyer, associate professor of history at The College of William & Mary, for her proposal "Sexuality in America: A History Since World War II." Meyer is a noted scholar and the committee anticipates that her forthcoming book will be used widely in college classes.

William B. Turner, assistant professor of history at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, received a $1,300 Zwickler grant for his study titled "The New Civil Rights: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Politics and Policy in the United States, 1975-2000." Turner's research will focus on how policy is made and how citizens and social movements shape policy.

A second Zwickler grant, in the amount of $200, was awarded to Dermot Feenan, a visiting researcher from the University of Ulster Law School in Northern Ireland who requested a small grant for his project titled, "Gay and Lesbian Activism: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Challenges to Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation." Feenan has been involved extensively with Northern Ireland's Bill of Rights project in regard to rights on the basis of sexual orientation.

The grant committee, composed of Fineman, Marston, and Amy Villarejo, assistant professor, Theatre, Film & Dance and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, invited Meyer and Turner to return to Cornell for a day-long symposium, scheduled for Sept. 28, 2002, to present their work. The scholars will also meet with graduate students to talk about doing research with the Human Sexuality Collection and with primary sources in general.

For more information about Cornell Library's Human Sexuality Collection, or next year's Zwickler Memorial Research Grants, contact Brenda Marston at, or (607) 255-3530.