Aug. 14, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. —Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces that Dr. Jenna Sciuto, assistant professor of English, was awarded an American Fellowship Publication Grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in support of her upcoming book, “Policing Intimacy: Law, Sexuality, and the Color Line in Twentieth-Century Hemispheric American Literature.”

Under contract with the University Press of Mississippi, “Policing Intimacy” examines representations of identity, colonial inheritance, and interracial relationships in literature about the United States South, Haiti, and Dominican Republic.

According to Sciuto, “‘Policing Intimacy’ is a work of literary analysis that draws heavily on law, history, and the archive to add layers of complexity. In addition to early slave laws from across the hemisphere, I examine the various iterations of anti-miscegenation laws specific to Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as relevant Supreme Court decisions, such as the landmark civil rights case ‘Loving v. Virginia.’ I also turn to the archives to extend my understanding of this literature and how it is situated historically.”

In the publication, Sciuto analyzes literary depictions of sexual policing of the color line across multiple spaces with distinct colonial histories: Mississippi through William Faulkner’s work, Louisiana through Ernest Gaines’s novels, Haiti through the work of Marie Vieux-Chauvet and Edwidge Danticat, and the Dominican Republic in writing by Danticat, Julia Alvarez, Junot Diaz, and Nelly Rosario.

Through connecting these disparate spaces, Sciuto argues that the policing of sexuality was used to ensure the continuity of the status quo across varying societies in the hemispheric South.

 AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded more than $115 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to 13,000 women from more than 145 countries since 1888. For the 2018–19 academic year, AAUW awarded a total of $3.9 million through six fellowships and grants programs to 250 scholars, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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