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Kenneth Sherrill Prize

Please visit the new Centennial Center website to learn more about the Kenneth Sherrill Prize

Through APSA's Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs, the Kenneth Sherrill Prize recognizes the best doctoral dissertation proposal for an empirical study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) topics in political science.  The purpose of this prize is to encourage and enable empirical work on LGBT topics by graduate students, and to broaden the recognition of this work within political science.

Nominations for the 2020 award will open in the fall of 2019. 

About the 2019 Winner

By unanimous agreement, the committee for the 2019 Kenneth Sherrill Prize for the best dissertation proposal in the empirical study of LGBT Politics is delighted to award the prize to Facundo E. Salles Kobilanski for his proposal entitled Out for Office, Out in Office: Public Opinion Towards Openly Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Politicians in Brazil.  Facundo’s dissertation will use a sophisticated, mixed method approach to examine how public opinion towards openly lesbian, gay and bisexual politicians in Latin America has developed over time and how such views shape these candidates’ electability.  Facundo begins by utilizing data from the AmericasBarometer to trace the change in public opinion towards LGB candidates in the region over time and explores the extent to which party affiliation as well as the religious identity of candidates mitigates negative attitudes towards such candidates.  Facundo next turns his attention to LGB candidates in Brazil where rich electoral data from Brazil’s state elections allow him to explore how and under what circumstance public opinion hinders the election of LGB candidates.  He further uses an original survey experiment to test the effect that these candidates’ religious affiliation has in mitigating negative attitudes towards LGB politicians.  Finally, Facundo uses a qualitative case study of LGB incumbents in Brazil to explore how LGB stereotyping is applied to incumbent politicians.  Through this rich research design Facundo’s dissertation will help to move the focus of contemporary research on LGBT politics in Latin America from the substantive representation of policy outcomes to the descriptive representation of LGB politicians and the barriers they face towards gaining public office.By unanimous agreement, the committee for the 2018 Kenneth Sherrill Prize for best dissertation proposal in the empirical study of LGBT politics enthusiastically awarded the Prize to Anna L. Weissman (University of Florida) for her proposal entitled “LGBT Tolerance and the Focus on Non-Normative Parenting: Same-Sex Marriage vs. Same-Sex Parenting.” Anna’s dissertation will take a comparative, mixed-methods approach to better understand why support for marriage rights for same-sex couples is greater than support for parenting rights for LGBT people around the world. Her hypothesis is that even as LGBT rights advance, traditional and patriarchal notions of reproduction persist, creating the growing gap between acceptance of marriage and support for LGBT families. Anna plans comparative studies of France, Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.


Prize Requirements

Applicants must have successfully defended the prospectus for their dissertation, or intend to defend their prospectus by July 31, 2019.  To qualify, an applicant’s dissertation prospectus must be an empirical study of LBGT topics; a prospectus in political theory is not eligible for the Kenneth Sherrill Prize. 

Each year after receiving the Prize, the Prize committee must receive a report from prior recipients stating if the dissertation has been completed and if so, receive an abstract of the completed dissertation, and if not, a timetable detailing expected trajectory to completion.

2019 Kenneth Sherrill Prize Committee
Term expiring August 2019
Andrew Reynolds
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
[email protected]

Term expiring August 2020
Douglas Page
Gettysburg College
[email protected]

Term expiring August 2021
Kelly Kollman
University of Glasgow
[email protected]


How to Apply

Applications for the program should include:

  • A curriculum vitae.
  • An abstract of the dissertation proposal.
  • A copy of the applicant’s dissertation proposal.
  • A letter of recommendation from the chair of the applicant’s dissertation committee.  The letter must attest that the prospectus will be defended by July 31, 2018.

Contact Us

For questions or concerns about the Kenneth Sherrill Prize or the application process, please contact the Centennial Center for Political Science and Public Affairs at [email protected].

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