Professor's book garners widespread praise, awards

December 7, 2009

A book that examines complex notions of paternity and fatherhood in modern France, and in a comprehensive fashion analyzes the evolution of the social construction of the French family since the 18th century, has garnered three prestigious awards for Arizona State University professor Rachel Fuchs.

Her book, "Contested Paternity: Constructing Families in Modern France," most recently was awarded the 2009 J. Russell Major Prize from the American Historical Association. The award will be presented Jan. 8 during the association's annual meeting. Download Full Image

The prize, established in memory of J. Russell Major, a distinguished scholar of French history who died in 1998, is awarded annually by the association for the best work in English on any aspect of French history.

"Contested Paternity," which was published in June 2008, is also the recipient of the 2009 Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize from the Western Association of Women Historians, and the 2008 Charles E. Smith Award from the European History section of the Southern Historical Association.

"It's just overwhelming and hard to assimilate," said Fuchs, about the praise the book has received. "I am just delighted. Now, my hope is for my publisher (Johns Hopkins University Press) to issue it in a paperback edition."

Professor Lenard Berlanstein of the University of Virginia calls the book "A masterpiece in French social, cultural and gender history. A sweeping account of a crucial but neglected subject."

In this groundbreaking study, Fuchs draws from archival judicial records on paternity suits, paternity denials, deprivations of paternity and adoption from the end of the 18th century through the start of the 21st century, to reveal how the law defined paternity and how it functioned in the culture and experiences of men and women.

"I connect contested paternity to concepts of property and masculine and feminine honor," Fuchs said. "My other books have examined the cultural component of paternity, in particular, abandoned children, unwed mothers and social reform. ‘Contested Paternity' has put it all together, including the bourgeois and working-class family."

Since receiving her doctorate from Indiana University in 1980, Fuchs has written five other books: "Abandoned Children: Foundlings and Child Welfare in the Nineteenth-Century France" (1984), "Poor and Pregnant in Paris: Strategies for Survival in the Nineteenth Century" (1992), "Gender and the Politics of Social Reform in France, 1870-1914" (1995), "Women in Nineteenth-Century Europe," with Victoria Thompson, (2004), and "Gender and Poverty in Nineteenth-Century Europe" (2005).

Fuchs has been a faculty member in ASU's College">">College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 1983. From 2005-2006 she served as the interim director of ASU's Institute">">Institute for Humanities Research. As a professor in the new School">">School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at ASU, Fuchs has taught many courses in French and European history, including "Women in Europe" and "Sex and Society in Modern Europe." She has chaired several doctoral dissertation committees where students studied various aspects of European history, ranging from the creation and use of Parisian parks and green spaces to women's civil society in modern Germany.

Additionally, Fuchs is the immediate past president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association and former president of the Society for French Historical Studies.

Written by Dan Moore (dhmoore">"> for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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ASU biologist chosen as 'Educator of the Year'

December 7, 2009

David E. Brown, a faculty associate in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, has been chosen to receive Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Commission Award for “Educator of the Year.”

The Commission awards were instituted in 1991, developed to “publically and formally recognize members of the community who are active in conservation of Arizona’s wildlife as volunteers, mentors and educators,” according to Marty Fabritz, executive staff assistant to the director of Arizona Game and Fish and ASU wildlife biology program alumnus, Larry Voyles. “The public is so involved with Arizona wildlife that we wanted to recognize that passion,” Fabritz says. Download Full Image

Fabritz notes that Brown’s name was submitted in not just one, but four of 13 award categories including Writer of the Year, Conservationist of the Year and Mentor of the Year.

Brown formally joined ASU in 1989, after he retired from a 27-year career at Arizona Game and Fish Department. He’s taught a range of courses including Techniques in Wildlife Conservation, Conservation Biology of Terrestrial Wildlife, Field Zoology and Biogeography. In an era when field biology courses routinely disappear from American universities, Brown has packed his bag and taken classes on the road, giving students a chance to learn field techniques – from mist netting bats to seining fish – in the field. Brown also team taught the graduate course Popular Science Writing with ASU professor emeritus John Alcock for nearly 15 years. Many of his students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have gone on to work for Arizona Fish and Game Department, as well as the U.S. Forest Service.

“Dave guides his students with real warmth, evoking appreciation for his company as well as his literary advice," Alcock says.

Brown has authored or edited more than 18 books. His books include an account of the grizzly bear’s extinction in the Southwest (“The Last Grizzly”), a review of the writings of the conservationist Aldo Leopold (“Aldo Leopold’s Southwest”) and a series on “Arizona Wildlife.” His most recent publication, “The Travails of Two Woodpeckers,” explains why two of the largest woodpeckers in the world went extinct in the 20th century.  In addition to professional journal articles about his research, Brown also has authored scores of articles for the public that have appeared in the Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, Arizona Hunter and other local magazines and newsletters, including Pronghorn (published by the Arizona Wildlife Foundation) and Wildlife Views (published by the Arizona Game and Fish Department). He also helped launch a School of Life Sciences’ newsletter in 2005.

Brown is the president and director of the Arizona Antelope Foundation and an elected fellow of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences. In addition to being selected as “Educator of the Year,” he has been chosen as the “Wildlife Conservationist of the Year” by the Arizona Wildlife Federation and awarded a Maytag Professorship by ASU, the Thomas E. McCullough Award for a career of professional wildlife conservation achievement by the Arizona Wildlife Federation, and the W. Frank Blair Eminent Naturalist Award by the Southwestern Association of Naturalists. In 2002, Brown was inducted into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame.
The Arizona Game and Fish awards ceremony will be Jan. 16, in conjunction with the “Meet the Commission” gathering, a public town hall-style event at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Peoria, 2532 W. Peoria Ave. Arizona residents will have a chance to meet with the commissioners and the award winners. For more information, visit">">

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost