CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 12, 2000
UI professor wins two national book prizes
IOWA CITY, Iowa Linda Kerber, a professor of history at the University
of Iowa, has won two national awards for her 1998 book "No Constitutional
Right to be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship."
The American Historical Association (AHA) awarded Kerber the Joan Kelly Memorial
Prize for the best work in women's history and/or feminist theory and the
Littleton-Griswold Prize for the best book in any subject on the history of
American law and society. Kerber received both prizes at the general meeting
of the AHA Jan. 7 in Chicago.
"No Constitutional Right to be Ladies" is an exhaustive look at
the ways in which throughout American history women have been held to different
obligations of citizenship than men. Only in the last generation have we abandoned
the practice of excluding women from jury service, a practice that left women
defendants to be judged by male-only juries. For most of American history,
women's obligation to pay taxes was not accompanied by the right of representation;
deep into the 20th century the obligation to be loyal to one's husband superceded
the obligation to be loyal to the nation.
"A tour de force in every respect, and required reading for American
historians and legal scholars, Kerber's new book is stunning," said Kirkus
Reviews, Aug. 1, 1998.
In awarding the prizes, the AHA said Kerber's book "reshapes the history
of American political development by investigating the obligations, rather
than rights, of citizenship. This model study underscores the dangers of excusing
women from civic responsibilities like loyalty oaths, jury duty, and military
service required of men."
Shelton Stromquist, chairman of the UI history department, said the prizes
reflect the impact the work has already had in the field. "Together the
prizes reflect the cross-disciplinary significance of Linda's work,"
he said. "This represents an extraordinary level of recognition."