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UCSB Feminist Studies Scholar Wins National Book Prize

Eileen Boris
Eileen Boris

Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and chair of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara, is the recipient of the 2012 Sara A. Whaley Prize for her book, Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Presented by the National Women’s Studies Association, the Whaley Prize recognizes outstanding work that addresses women and labor. It is named for Whaley, who, in the 1970s, owned Rush Publishing –– one of the first publishing companies to focus on feminist studies –– and served as editor of its scholarly journal, Women’s Studies Abstracts.

The award will be presented this week at the NWSA annual conference in Oakland.

“On behalf of the UC Santa Barbara community, I congratulate Professor Boris on her receipt of the Sara A. Whaley Prize,” UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said. “This important award is representative of Dr. Boris’ stature in the field of feminist studies, and recognizes her valuable scholarly research on the politics of home health care in America –– a subject that affects millions of people every day.”

Melvin Oliver, executive dean of the College of Letters and Science and the SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Science, said: “Caring for America is the definitive study of home health workers. Professor Boris elucidates complex issues through historical research and careful analysis of the labor movement. It is a work both of tremendous scholarship and of great public significance.”

“I am absolutely honored and delighted to receive the Sara Whaley Prize,” Boris said. “Not only is it one of just a few book prizes awarded by the professional organization for the field of women, gender and feminist studies, it shows that my peers have recognized how a feminist and racialized gender analysis can be expansive in allowing us to understand the big questions of our time.”

Co-authored with Jennifer Klein, a professor of history at Yale University, Caring for America presents a narrative history of home health care that covers the period from the Great Depression of the 1930s to present day.

Boris and Klein examine issues related to social policy and home health care, and demonstrate how law and social policy made home care a low-wage job that was stigmatized as welfare and relegated to the bottom of the medical hierarchy.

Established in 1977, the NWSA seeks to promote and support the production and dissemination of knowledge about women and gender through teaching, learning, research, and service in academic and other settings. The association has more than 2,000 individual and 350 institutional members working in varied specialties across the United States and around the world.

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