USF Historian David Johnson Wins Prestigious National Humanities Center Residential Fellowship

USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (March 6, 2014) – David K. Johnson, an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of History, has been named a Fellow at the prestigious National Humanities Center for the 2014-15 academic year. This $50,000 fellowship will provide Johnson with the time and resources to complete his on-going study of the historic relationship between consumer commodities and the role gender and sexuality have played in American politics in the late 20th century.

Johnson’s new book project chronicles the rise of a gay commercial network in the 1950s and 1960s. Contesting the notion that a gay market developed only recently in the wake of gay activism, Johnson challenges conventional understanding of the relationship between consumer culture and political resistance. Combining the approaches of the history of sexuality and business history, Johnson’s research demonstrates how a small group of mail-order entrepreneurs encouraged the rise of a national gay market and promoted the formation of a self-conscious minority group.

David K. Johnson

Johnson is the author of The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Governmenta critically-acclaimed book on the Cold War-era efforts to oust gays working in the federal government. His studies have focused on an era in America politics and culture which were critical in giving rise to the gay rights movement in American and continue to influence changing attitudes toward gay rights through today.

By encouraging scholarly excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration, the National Humanities Center seeks “to insure the continuing strength of the liberal arts and to affirm the importance of the humanities in American life.” Founded in 1978 under the auspices of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the NHC is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Duke University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and other private and philanthropic institutions. Over the past thirty-five years, NHC fellowships have resulted in the publication of more than 1,400 books in all fields of humanistic study.

The NHC fellowship is one of a small number of humanities awards which the Association of American Universities (AAU) counts among the most prestigious faculty honors. USF aspires to join the AAU, an association of 62 leading public and private research universities.