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UCSB Sociologist Receives Career Achievement Awards

May 15, 2008

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) – Verta Taylor, department chair and professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has recently received career achievement awards from two prestigious organizations. The Center for the Study of Social Movements and Social Change located at the University of Notre Dame honored her as the second recipient of the John D. McCarthy Lifetime Achievement Award in the Scholarship of Social Movements and Collective Behavior, while the American Sociological Association has named her the recipient of the Simon and Gagnon Award.

The John D. McCarthy award, which honors scholars who have made outstanding contributions to scholarly literature concerned with social movement, protest, collective violence, riots, and other forms of collective behavior, was presented to Taylor at Notre Dame, where she presented a lecture. She will receive the Simon and Gagnon Award at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Boston in August.

The Simon and Gagnon Award recognizes scholarly contributions to the study of sexualities. It is named for William Simon and John Gagnon, two scholars who pioneered research on the social aspects of sexuality. Simon, who died in 2000, was a professor of sociology at the University of Houston. Gagnon is a professor emeritus of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

"I am deeply honored and humbled to be receiving both of these major scholarly awards during the same academic year," said Taylor. "When I began my intellectual career these two areas of scholarly inquiry were just about as far apart as one could imagine in the field of sociology. It is heartening to see that the work I and my students have done over the years has played a part in bridging that divide."

Said Melvin Oliver, dean of social sciences at UCSB: "These two prestigious lifetime achievement awards reflect sustained excellence in research and teaching that has connected two distinct areas of study––social movements and sex and gender––with innovative conceptual and theoretical breakthroughs, richly textured empirical studies and engaged mentorship of a new generation of scholars in these fields. There are only a handful of scholars in sociology who can match this set of achievements and we are so proud to have Professor Taylor as a member of our faculty. This only reinforces UCSB's high ranking in the field of sex and gender."

Taylor came to UCSB from Ohio State University in 2002. Her current research focuses on the women's movement, self-help movements, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement. Most recently, she co-authored the book "Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret" (University of Chicago Press, 2003) with Leila J. Rupp, a professor of women's studies at UCSB, which examines drag performances as a collective action repertoire of the gay and lesbian movement. She also co-edited "Feminist Frontiers" (McGraw-Hill, 1983), one of the first women's studies texts, which is being published in its eighth edition in 2008.

Taylor is the author or co-author of 15 books and edited volumes and over 100 articles, chapters, and reviews. Her articles appeared in numerous scholarly collections and journals, including American Sociological Review; Social Problems; Signs, Gender & Society; Mobilization, Journal of Marriage and the Family; Journal of Women's History; Qualitative Sociology; Journal of Homosexuality; and Sexualities.

The recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, including the Sociologists for Women in Society's Mentoring Award and the 2005 Book Award from the Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association, she has served as chair of the association's sections on sex and gender; sexualities; and collective behavior and social movements. She also served on the association's committee on the status of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sociologists.

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