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Research News

Cahn receives prestigious Vanderbilt fellowship

By PATRICIA DONOVAN

Published November 1, 2013

Susan Cahn

Susan Cahn

Susan K. Cahn, professor in the Department of History, has been named the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at the Vanderbilt University Robert Penn Warren Center for the 2013-14 academic year.

She is one of seven Warren Center fellows to participate in the center’s annual yearlong interdisciplinary faculty seminar whose theme this year is “Diagnosis in Context: Culture, Politics and the Construction of Meaning.”

Cahn, a member of the UB history faculty since 1992, is known for her publications on the history of women and sports, and research in U.S. women’s history, history of sexuality, African-American history, southern history, feminist theory and LGBQ (lesbian/gay/bisexual/queer) studies. Her current research is on the gendered history of mental illness with a focus on borderline personality disorder.

Cahn, who will receive a $50,000 stipend from Vanderbilt, will study the production of diagnoses, the various meanings ascribed to them across time and place, and what they do for individuals and communities trying to navigate the elusive boundaries between health and disease.

Cahn is the author of “Sexual Reckonings: Southern Girls in a Troubling Age” (2007) and of the critically acclaimed monograph “Coming on Strong: Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Sports” (1994), which won the Best Book Award in the Sport History category from the North American Society of Sports History.

She is co-author, with Jean O’Reilly, of “Women and Sports in the United States: A Documentary Reader” (2011) and her most recent book, “Sexual Reckonings: Adolescent Girlhood in the Modern South” (2012), explores how the sexuality of white and African-American adolescent girls served as a flashpoint in popular culture and state policy for intensely political conflicts over race, class and gender relations in the South.