Hogan receives Distinguished Book Award from Midwest Sociological Society

May 1, 2014

By Liz Cachey ‘15

Sociology Department Chair Dr. Jackie Hogan recently received the 2014 Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society for her book “Lincoln, Inc.: Selling the Sixteenth President in Contemporary America.”

The award, presented in early April at the society’s annual conference in Omaha, Nebraska, recognized “the outstanding contributions to sociological research, theory, and policy analysis produced by its members in the form of books.” Furthermore, the winning book is considered to be one “which makes an exemplary, original, and substantive contribution to sociological understanding.”

In the book, Hogan examines the uses — and abuses — of Abraham Lincoln in the United States today. The book peeks inside the nation’s classrooms, museums and tourist sites, and examines Lincoln’s use in commerce, pop culture, political campaigns, and heated debates over abortion, homosexuality and race.

“Lincoln, Inc.” analyzes the ways people employ Lincoln in their political, ideological, personal and national struggles; the ways we simultaneously deify and commercially exploit him; the ways he is packaged and sold in the marketplace of American ideas.

In a fascinating twist, Hogan suggests that the stories we tell ourselves about Lincoln are really stories about who we think we are as a nation, and who we wish we could be.

On the book, the selection committee said: “Hogan's work not only sheds light on how figures in history can be commodified, but also on current practices in the political realm that incorporate lies, make grandiose even the smallest of achievements, and moderate our images of the powerful people who run for office in America. Thus, although this book contributes nuances to the historical legacy of Lincoln, it shows how he has been deified by the political machinery and moral entrepreneurs who have reconstructed history.”

“The book,” continued the committee, “not only can play in Peoria, but should be read by Americans and others of all stripes to give us a greater insight into the role played by writers in literature, television, and film, and now an increasing amount of social media, to create personalities.”

“I was both honored and humbled to receive this recognition from this panel of esteemed scholars,” said Hogan. “And I am grateful to Bradley for supporting my research.”