Great news about a prestigious national award won by our Lecturer Susan Brandt, who has been teaching colonial American history for the Department.
SUSAN HANKET BRANDT RECEIVES 2016 LERNER-SCOTT PRIZE FROM THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN HISTORIANS
BLOOMINGTON, IN—During its annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) presented Susan Hanket Brandt, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, with their prestigious 2016 Lerner-Scott Prize, which is given annually for the best doctoral dissertation in U.S. women’s history.
“Gifted Women and Skilled Practitioners: Gender and Healing Authority in the Delaware Valley, 1740–1830” (Temple University, August 2014; Adviser: Dr. Susan E. Klepp). Substantially revising the standard narrative of women medical practitioners in this period, which often depicts these women as “amateurs” and emphasizes their declining influence, this sophisticated, yet accessible, dissertation argues that women—European, Native American, and African American—actually continued to play a central role in health care well into the nineteenth century. Instead of falling victim to capitalism and professionalization, doctresses, herbalists, apothecaries, and midwives of various classes and ethnicities took advantage of the unregulated medical marketplace and created an arena where women could still act with authority, resisting attempts at marginalization. Incredibly well researched, the dissertation shows that while many female practitioners continued to use traditional remedies, other women were also deeply invested in the latest medical research, reading widely in medical works and attending demonstrations. Indeed, female healers of all sorts contributed to medical knowledge and even received widespread recognition for their competence. Susan Hanket Brandt finds that, though the wealthiest and the poorest women faced pressure to leave non-familial medicine, many other female healers continued to develop expertise and to attend to patients into the 1800s, in spite of obstacles. After a career as a nurse practitioner herself, this new historian and her work embody the true spirit of both Gerda Lerner and Anne Firor Scott.
The award was presented on April 9 by OAH’s 2015–16 President Jon Butler and 2016–17 President Nancy F. Cott.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN HISTORIANS
Founded in 1907, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship. With more than 7,500 members from the U.S. and abroad, OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, encouraging wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of history practitioners. It publishes the quarterly Journal of American History, the leading scholarly publication and journal of record in the field of American history for more than nine decades. It also publishes The American Historian magazine. Formerly known as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (MVHA), the association became the OAH in 1965 to reflect a broader scope focusing on national studies of American history. The OAH national headquarters are located in the historic Raintree House on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.