2021 Arcus/Places Prize Winner: Susan Stryker

Susan Stryker
[Image courtesy Susan Stryker.]

We’re pleased to announce that Susan Stryker has been selected as the 2021 Arcus/Places Prize winner.

Susan Stryker is a leading voice in the field of transgender studies and an award-winning activist, author, and filmmaker. She holds the Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership at Mills College and is professor emerita of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. Her Arcus/Places Prize project will explore the intersections of trans history and prison industrial complex (PIC) abolitionism in San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

The Arcus/Places Prize is a unique collaboration between the Diversity Platforms Committee of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley and Places, funded by the College’s Arcus Endowment, which was launched in 2000 with a generous gift from the Arcus Foundation. The prize was established in 2014 to support innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality, and the built environment. Recipients receive an honorarium of $7,500 to produce a major work of public scholarship for Places and present a related lecture at the College of Environmental Design.

Greig Crysler, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Arcus Chair of Gender, Sexuality and the Built Environment at UC Berkeley, noted that “Stryker’s lecture and essay will bring the important innovations in trans scholarship advanced by this award back to the Bay Area, with a focus on the history and recent controversies around the struggles by the trans community in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Stryker’s internationally influential role as an educator, activist and scholar has always been energized by her deep commitment to the queer and trans communities in the Bay Area. The ethics, generosity and clarity of her arguments, represented across a remarkable breadth of publications, made her the clear choice for the Arcus/Places Prize. Her lecture and essay will serve as a source of critical insight and hope for queer and trans communities, and all those concerned with the relationship between cities, the built environment and social justice in these challenging times.”

Susan Stryker is the fourth recipient of the prize. The inaugural winner was Alice T. Friedman, professor of the History of American Art at Wellesley College, for “Queer Old Things,” which explored the lives of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and the rise of a “lesbian archipelago” in Paris in the mid 20th century. Jack Halberstam, professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University, received the prize in 2018 for “Unbuilding Gender,” on trans* anarchitectures in the work of Gordon Matta-Clark. In 2019, the prize was awarded to Lucas Crawford, associate professor of English at the University of New Brunswick, for “The Crumple and the Scrape,” which examined the relationships between texture and gender in the language of architectural criticism.

The 2021 Arcus/Places Prize lecture and article are provisionally scheduled for October.