The inaugural 2017 HOTCUS article prize was awarded to Maria McGrath (Bucks County Community College) for her article “Living Feminist: The Liberation and Limits of Countercultural Business and Radical Lesbian Ethics at Bloodroot Restaurant“, which was published in The Sixties: Journal of History, Politics and Culture. In awarding the prize, the committee provided the following citation:
In this outstanding article, Maria McGrath tells the story of the Connecticut-based Bloodroot Collective and Restaurant, which operated in the 1970s and 1980s at the intersections of the radical feminist, countercultural, and gay liberation movements. McGrath’s exhaustive research and skillful use of oral history draws together the personal narratives of Selma Miriam, Betsey Bevan, Samn Stockwell, Pat Shea and Noel Furie, placing their lives against the backdrop of broader developments within social movement circles after the 1960s. The author provides perceptive analysis of change over time within Bloodroot, highlighting both the promise and the pitfalls of what she describes as “relational commerce”. The article consequently provides an effective model for the integration of the study of foodways into the history of US social movements. Finally, McGrath’s approach successfully tackles the thorny issue of intersectionality, by analyzing how the collective’s approach to questions of race developed, often imperfectly, along with those of the broader radical feminist movement.
Overall, the article offers neither a narrative of triumph, nor of declension, but rather a nuanced picture of the lived realities of prefigurative politics in the late twentieth-century United States. It is a triumph of historical scholarship, and a worthy winner of the inaugural HOTCUS Article Prize.