Dr. Terah J. Stewart Wins ASHE Award for Outstanding Book

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AMES, Iowa — Dr. Terah J. Stewart, assistant professor in the School of Education, was recently awarded the Outstanding Book award by the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) for his book, Sex Work on Campus. Stewart’s book explores the stigma that students who engage in sex work and/or erotic labor on campus face and what it can mean to support these students. Stewart explained that reducing the stigma, while important, does not necessarily mean it should be done by bringing students front and center.

“I’m not saying we need to recklessly bring all these folks into a spotlight. I’m saying as an institutional leader, as researchers, as teachers, we have to ask the question, ‘are these folks in my classroom? And if so, do we care about their needs’,” said Stewart. 

The students themselves bring their stories to the forefront in Sex Work On Campus. Stewart refers to the participants of the study as collaborators, working towards the common goal of unearthing the best way to support these students on a campus through his post-doctoral research.

There are seven creative non-fiction memoirs from the collaborators that shed a light on their experiences as an individual who engages in erotic labor. Stewart found the importance in sharing their stories when he realized how fervent the students were about using their voice and experiences.

“There were seven students in the study. And, we wrote together, each of them, either their first time engaging in erotic labor or a memorable time. We wanted a more accessible way to share this information because journal articles aren’t interesting to people who aren’t researchers or graduate students,” said Stewart.

Co-writing the memoirs, gave Stewart and his collaborators the opportunity to take accessibility one step further and make the book available for open access to readers online.

Because of this groundbreaking work and tenacity to make his book open access, Stewart was invited to give a fireside chat during the awards ceremony for the ASHE Awards in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 17,  where he will also accept the organization’s award for Outstanding Book.

“I am really grateful and really humbled,” said Stewart. “I look at the long list of books and think, ‘These are things I’ve read. These are things I’ve cited. The thought leaves me breathless.”

To be in contention for the award, a book has to be published within the last two years, moved the given field forward, and dive into “cutting-edge” methodological practices.

Sex Work on Campus is also available for purchase in a hardcover copy.