Postdoctoral Fellow Beans Velocci Wins Dissertation Award

Beans Velocci, Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Sociology of Science

Beans Velocci, a postdoctoral fellow in History and Sociology of Science (HHS), has received the John D’Emilio LGBTQ History Dissertation Award from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). The award is given annually for the best Ph.D. dissertation in U.S. LGBTQ history.

Velocci’s dissertation, Binary Logic: Race, Expertise, and the Persistence of Uncertainty in American Sex Research, studies American scientific research into sex between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. In it, they argue that researchers in zoology, eugenics, and trans medicine advanced ideas about binary sex—often in contrast to the uncertainty of sex in the subjects they studied—to naturalize sexual taxonomies. The OAH press release described the dissertation as “a singular contribution to LGBT history, offering an energetic and constantly surprising contribution to scholarship on sex, science, and U.S. history.”

Velocci, who received their Ph.D. at Yale University, will join the Penn faculty as an assistant professor in HSS on July 1. Their research focuses on knowledge production in the realms of sex, gender, and sexuality, using queer, trans, and feminist methods to interrogate classification systems and how they become regarded as biological truths.

Founded in 1907 and based in Bloomington, Indiana, the Organization of American Historians is the largest professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of U.S. history.


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