University of Oregon professor Daniel Martinez HoSang was selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2011 James A. Rawley Prize, which is given annually for the best book dealing with the history of race relations in the United States. HoSang’s book Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California was published in October 2010. OAH President David A. Hollinger and President-Elect Alice Kessler-Harris presented the prize March 19, 2011, in Houston, Texas, during the 104th annual meeting of the organization.
An assistant professor of ethnic studies and political science at the UO and a Center for the Study of Women in Society faculty affiliate, HoSang received faculty grant support from CSWS in 2009 for his research project “Reproductive Justice at the Ballot: Origins, Trends and Future Developments.”
The James A. Rawley Prize Committee describes Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California (University of California Press) as follows:
“For much of the post-World War II era, California has enjoyed a reputation as a multicultural, racially tolerant, progressive polity. Yet voters in America’s most populous state have repeatedly endorsed ballot propositions that over the decades have rejected fair employment laws, repudiated open housing legislation, banned public services for many immigrants, repealed affirmative action, and curbed bilingual education. In a book of high theoretical sophistication and probing research, Daniel HoSang explains that neither the persistence of overt white racism nor the eruption of a working-class ‘backlash’ accounts for this phenomenon. Instead, these high-profile ballot initiatives create public ‘spectacles’ where conservative political interests shape public consciousness, making their claims through a rhetoric of colorblindness and in populist rather than partisan terms, all the while naturalizing white racial identity through a liberal discourse of rights, opportunity, tolerance, and fairness. This remarkable narrative analysis opens a new door to our understanding of racial politics in a multicultural society where the achievements of the civil rights movement are taken for granted.”
Founded in 1907, OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Members in the U.S. and abroad include college and university professors; students; precollegiate teachers; archivists, museum curators, and other public historians employed in government and the private sector.