Stanford historian Estelle Freedman wins national honor for book on rape, suffrage, segregation

Estelle Freedman
Estelle Freedman

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) has awarded Stanford history Professor ESTELLE FREEDMAN with the 2014 Darlene Clark Hine Award for her book Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation.

Given annually, the award was established in honor of Hine, a pioneer in African American women’s and gender history and a former OAH president.

“This rigorously researched and beautifully written book transforms and deepens our understanding of how race, gender, class and sexuality shaped the harm of rape as experienced by women and as articulated by reformers and their adversaries,” noted an OAH press release.

The work also was applauded for featuring African American women as protagonists as well as subjects, working to exercise their rights in the face of formidable obstacles.

Citing legal documents, periodicals and political cartoons, Freedman argues in the book that the attitudes toward sexual violence as well as the prosecution of sexual offenses were influenced by gender and racial politics.

Freedman, the Edgar E. Robinson Professor in U.S. History, accepted the award at the OAH’s annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month. She said she was “deeply honored” and “delighted” to receive it. She also noted that her former doctoral advisee KATHERINE MARINO, PhD ’13, won the organization’s prize for best dissertation on women’s history. “It was a joyful ceremony for both of us,” Freedman said.

Founded in 1907, the OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past.


—TANU WAKEFIELD, the Humanities at Stanford