LAWRENCE — The Beth Bailey Foundation Distinguished Professor has received the 2022 Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the Society for Military History. She is the first woman to receive the award as well as the first non-traditional military historian – the first to define herself as a military, war and social historian – to be honored.
The Morison Award recognizes the University of Kansas scholar’s lifetime contributions to the field of military history and reflects the range of her academic pursuits in this field.
“I’m thrilled to receive this award, and it was a huge surprise,” Bailey said. “It means even more because the elected trustees of the Military History Society vote for its recipient, and in my view these votes demonstrate that the society has increasingly become one big tent, welcoming a wide variety of approaches of military history.
Bailey’s current research examines how the US military as an institution responded to calls for racial justice and attempted to manage pervasive racial conflict during the broader unrest of the Vietnam War era. She is delighted to see “that the field of military history is thriving, with cohort after cohort of scholars doing exciting work that strengthens the field of military history and the discipline of history more broadly” .
“This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Bailey, who is a leading expert in the field of military history,” said John Colombo, acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “We are fortunate to have his scholarship and his leadership here at the College.”
Bailey is a Foundation Professor Emeritus, Director of the Center for Military, War, and Social Studies, and a member of the KU History Department. She is the author, editor or co-contributor of 12 books, including “America’s Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force”, “Sex in the Heartland”, “The First Strange Place: Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii”, “Understanding America’s Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”, “Dealing with Sex in the US Military”, and “Beyond Pearl Harbor: A History of the Pacific”.
Bailey has twice received the Distinguished Writing Award from the Army Historical Foundation. Co-editor of Cambridge University Press’s series of books on military, war, and society in the modern United States, she now chairs the Department of the Army’s Historical Advisory Subcommittee. She has lectured or been a visiting scholar in Australia, Indonesia, France, Japan, UK, Lebanon, Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia and China. His new book, “An Army Afire,” to be published next year by the University of North Carolina Press, analyzes how the U.S. military as an institution has attempted to deal with “the problem of race “during the Vietnam War. Bailey was elected to the Society of American Historians in 2017, and in 2022 she received the Jeffrey Balfour-Higuchi Award for System from the Kansas Board of Regents. She is currently a Carnegie Foundation Fellow and Public Scholar of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Founded in 1933 as the American Military History Foundation, renamed the American Military Institute in 1939, and renamed the Society for Military History in 1990, the society is dedicated to stimulating and advancing the study of military history. Its members (today more than 2,700) include some of the most eminent scholars, soldiers and citizens of the world interested in military history.
The College is the heart of KU, educating the most students, producing the most research, and collaborating with nearly all KU entities. The College is home to more than 50 departments, programs, and centers, as well as the School of Arts and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.