Beans Velocci receives the John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award for the best Ph.D. dissertation in U.S. LGBTQ history from the Organization of American Historians

April 7, 2022
The Organization of American Historians (OAH) announced that Beans Velocci (University of Pennsylvania, dissertation completed
at Yale University, with advisers Joanne Meyerowitz and Joanna Radinis the recipient of the OAH’s 2022 John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award. The Award was presented during the OAH’s 2022 Conference on American History.
The recipient of this year’s John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award is Beans Velocci for their brilliant dissertation, “Binary Logic: Race, Expertise, and the Persistence of Uncertainty in American Sex Research.” This archivally rich, theoretically dense, conceptually imaginative, and beautifully written dissertation studies American scientists’ research into sex between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. In sparkling prose, Velocci uncovers the complex ways researchers in areas such as zoology, eugenics, and trans medicine took pains to advance ideas about binary sex—often in contrast to the uncertainty of sex in the very subjects they studied—to naturalize sexual taxonomies. In four
tight chapters, Velocci reveals both the stubborn insistence upon binary sex across a century of scientific research and the fundamental instability of the objects of scientific study. Balancing thrilling reevaluation of familiar figures such as Harry Benjamin with lesser-known experts, Velocci digs deep into the archives to cogently argue for the ideological investment in binary sex that calcified pernicious ideas
that continue to be taken for scientific fact. Velocci’s breathtaking dissertation makes a singular contribution to LGBT history, offering an energetic and constantly surprising contribution to scholarship on sex, science, and U.S. history.
For the full list of OAH 2022 award and prize recipients, please visit the OAH website.

For the full list of OAH 2022 award and prize recipients, please visit the OAH website.