Stephanie Jones-Rogers receives the 2013 Lerner-Scott Prize from the Organization of American Historians

Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, a R-N history alumna (MA '07), has been selected to receive the 2013 Lerner-Scott Prize from the Organization of American Historians.

April 12, 2013

Outstanding Historian Honored

Bloomington, IN–Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, University of Iowa, has been selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2013 Lerner-Scott Prize, which is given annually for the best doctoral dissertation in U.S. women’s history. On Saturday, April 13, OAH President Albert M. Camarillo and OAH President-Elect Alan M. Kraut will present the prize in San Francisco, California, during the 106th annual meeting of the organization.

According to the 2013 Lerner-Scott Prize Committee, “ʻNobody Couldn’t Sell’em but Her’: Slaveowning Women, Mastery, and the Gendered Politics of the Antebellum Slave Market” (Rutgers University dissertation, with advisers Deborah Gray White, Chair, Mia Bay, Thavolia Glymph, and Nancy Hewitt) is sophisticated in its argumentation and methodology, and it offers important new ways to think about white slaveholding women and their place in the antebellum southern slaveocracy. This ambitious and exceedingly well-written work makes a very important revision to U.S. slavery studies by revealing the deep imbrication of white slaveowning women in the most brutal facets of slavery, especially in commodifying the bodies, labor, and reproductive work of enslaved women. Historians have long regarded the marketplace of slavery as dominated exclusively by men, not only as privileged legal and financial actors, but also in a social geography from which white women were presumably barred by custom. Similarly, "mastery" has frequently been featured as a largely male activity. Jones-Rogers adeptly challenges both presumptions, notably revealing how extensively the household and the marketplace overlapped in the hiring, buying, and selling of enslaved people–especially enslaved women, whose reproductive labor as wet-nurses was highly valued by slave owning women. Jones-Rogers effectively mined and interrogated an extensive range of primary sources, and we especially appreciated her integration of the “voices” of previously enslaved people in order to incorporate a more textured understanding of the meanings and ramifications of slaveowning women’s actions, agency, and power.

Founded in 1907, the OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. The OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Members in the United States and abroad include college and university professors; students; precollegiate teachers; archivists, museum curators, and other public historians employed in government and the private sector.