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2016 Faculty Honors and Awards

Faculty members of the School of Arts and Sciences are leaders in their fields. 

This section documents the awards, research discoveries, and grant and fellowship activities of SAS faculty.

(Faculty: Have any good news to share? Please email your news to Kara Donaldson for inclusion in our next report.) 

Eddy Arnold (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) received the 2016 Award from the Pennsylvania Drug Discovery Institute (PDDI) and gave the 2016 PDDI Award Lecture on 17 November 2016 at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, Doylestown, PA.

Helen M. Berman (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) has been selected as a Fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology. The ISCB Fellows program was created to honor members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding contributions to the fields of computational biology and bioinformatics.

Yarimar Bonilla (Anthropology) was awarded a National Science Foundation Senior Scholar Grant, to conduct ethnographic research for her project “Puerto Rico’s American Dream” on the Puerto Rican statehood movement, 2016. 

Lev Borisov (Mathematics) was awarded 2016 Simons Fellowships in Mathematics.

Haim Brezis (Mathematics) has been awarded a Honoris Causa degree from the National Technical University in Athens. 

Sara C. Campbell (Exercise Science and Sport Studies) has been elected a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Fioralba Cakoni (Mathematics) was awarded a 2016 Simons Fellowships in Mathematics. 

Eric Carlen (Mathematics) was selected to join the 2016 class of the Fellows of the American Mathematical Society.

Sylvia Chan-Malik (Women’s and Gender Studies) was named one of the “MPower 100: Muslim Social Justice Leaders Building Power Across the United States” by the Muslim Advocacy Group Ummahwide.

Ruth Chang (Philosophy) was awarded an American Philosophical Association Op-Ed Prize for her New Year's Op-Ed in the New York Times and a Berggruen Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. 

Sagun Chanillo (Mathematics) has been elected to join the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society.

Sang-Wook Cheong (Physics and Astronomy) was listed by Thomson Reuters as among the Highly Cited Researchers of 2015, ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact. 

Dorothy Sue Cobble (History) received a Visiting International Scholar Award from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, in February 2016. She also received the Swedish Research Council’s 2016 Kerstin Hesselgren Visiting Professor Fellowship Award at Stockholm University, Sweden.

Harry Crane (Statistics and Biostatistics) was awarded a five-year NSF CAREER Grant,  Probabilistic Foundations, Statistical Inference, and Invariance Principles for Evolving Combinatorial Structures. 

Gabriella D’Arcangelo (Cell Biology and Neuroscience) received an Idea Development Award from the Department of Defense to study “Cell type-specific contributions to the TSC neuropathology,” 2016 - 2019.

James Delbourgo (History) was invited to be a Visiting Professor in History of Science at Harvard University, Fall 2016.

Richard H. Ebright (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2016.

E. Efe Khayyat (African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures) gave the opening lecture at the Patricia Crone Memorial Workshop at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

Maurice Elias (Psychology) received the NJASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) 2015 Ernest L. Boyer Outstanding Educator Award. Throughout the course of his career, Maurice Elias has provided remarkable leadership throughout the state and country on social emotional learning, concepts that connect to the ASCD Whole Child tenets.

Leonard C. Feldman (Physics and Astronomy) has been named a fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) for contributions to semiconductor-dielectric interfaces for MOS technologies.

Nicole Fleetwood (American Studies) won national fellowships from: American Council for Learned Societies Fellowship, 2016-2017; New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, 2016-2017; Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship, 2016-2017.

Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi (Anthropology) was elected a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, IIAS, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Alvin Goldman (Philosophy) made the Leiter Report’s list on the most influential and living epistemologists since 1945,  January 2016.  For results, go to the following link: .

Charles Häberl (African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures) has been awarded the American Academy in Berlin’s Berlin Prize for 2016–2017 for his research project “Flights of Fancy: Legends of Persecution and Migration from Iraq and Iran.” The American Academy in Berlin offers fellows the opportunity to pursue independent projects in an interdisciplinary residential community, supported by its staff, networks, and other resources, in a manner that encourages participation in the vibrant life of Berlin and Germany.

Mary Hawkesworth (Women’s and Gender Studies) received the American Political Science Association, group on Interpretive Methodologies and Methods the 2016 Grain of Sand Award, which honors a political scientist whose contributions to interpretive studies of the political, and, indeed, to the discipline itself, its ideas and its persons, have been longstanding and merit special recognition.

Nancy Hewitt (History) was awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award for 2016 from the Organization of American Historians which goes to "an individual or individuals whose contributions have significantly enriched our understanding and appreciation of American history."  Rosenzweig was an esteemed labor and cultural historian and director of the Center for History and New Media.

David Hughes (Anthropology) was elected to the National Council of the Association of American University Professors and named to the Higher Education Policy and Planning Council of the American Federation of Teachers.

Paul Israel (History), Director of The Edison Papers, was elected President-Elect of the Association for Documentary Editing, 2016-17, and will serve as President in 2017-18. 

Henryk Iwaniec (Mathematics) has been awarded the 2015 Stefan Banach Medal of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Saurabh Jha (Physics and Astronomy) was listed by Thomson Reuters as among the Highly Cited Researchers of 2015, ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact.

Joanna Kempner (Sociology) was presented the 2016 Eliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award for her book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago 2014) by the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.  

Suzy Kim (Asian Languages and Cultures) has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2016 for her project titled “Women Behind the Iron Curtain: A Cultural History of North Korea.”

Jeff King (Philosophy) was invited to be a Visiting Professor at the School for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris, spring 2015, and gave a course of lectures entitled “Context and Semantic Value,” which were cosponsored by EHESS, École normale supérieure, and the Institute Jean Nicod. 

Joachim Kohn (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) has been reelected as Chair of the International College of Fellows of Biomaterials Science and Engineering, 2016-2020. 

Tia M. Kolbaba (Religion) was an Invited Guest at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, University of Paris, May 2016.  She gave four lectures on Christian stereotypes of "the heretic" and the relation of such ideas to western constructions of "the other" throughout history. 

Alex Kontorovich (Mathematics) has been elected to join the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. 

Aldo Lauria-Santiago (Latino and Caribbean Studies) was awarded Honorable Mention for the Tibesar Prize for 2015 by The Conference on Latin American History, for “Holding the City Hostage: Popular Sectors and Elites in San Miguel, El Salvador, 1875,” January 2016.

Alan Leslie (Psychology) was invited to spend Spring 2016 as a Visiting Professor at the Department of Cognitive Science and Cognitive Development Center, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. 

Jing Li (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) was listed in “Highly Cited Researchers 2016” by Thomson Reuters. 

Liping Liu (Mathematics) was awarded 2016 Simons Fellowships in Mathematics. 

Nelson Maldonado-Torres (Latino and Caribbean Studies) was invited as Visiting Researcher in the Department of Political Sciences, University of South Africa, Spring 2016. 

Joseph Marcotrigiano (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) was named a 2016 Faculty Scholar by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is one of 84 early-career scientists named to this list who have potential to make unique contributions to their field 

Sarah Blake McHam (Art History) gave the annual Robert H. Smith lecture at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, December 2016. 

Dimitris Metaxas (Computer Science) received the only grant given in Computer Science in MURI: MURI, “SCAN: Socio-Cultural Attitudinal Networks,” 2016-2021. 

Carolyn M. Moehling (Economics) was elected Vice President, Economic History Association, 2016-2017. 

Greg Moore (Physics and Astronomy) is a 2015 recipient of the Dirac Medal, awarded by the International Center for Theoretical Physics. 

Robert Moss (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) has been named as the 2017 recipient of the American Chemical Society's James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry.  

Anjali Nerlekar (African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures) has started an archive of modern Bombay poetry at Cornell University with the help of the South Asia librarian at Cornell, Dr. Bronwen Bledsoe. This collection is the first of its kind that will house the manuscripts, ephemeral print material, correspondence, and pictures related to the multilingual poets writing in the post-independence period in Bombay, India. 

Deirdre O’Carroll (Chemistry and Chemical Biology) has won a highly-competitive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation for her work on developing nanoscale photonic structures to increase the stability of blue phosphorescent light emitting molecules.

Michael Rockland (American Studies) was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Fellowship, lecturing in Macedonia and consulting with their universities about creating American Studies programs, March 2016. 

Ken Safir (Linguistics) was awarded additional support from the National Science Foundation for the project, "An Online Center for African Linguistics Research: Expansion of the Afranaph Project."

Liliana Sánchez (Spanish and Portuguese) was awarded the Research School of Humanities & the Arts External Visitor Support Fund at the Australian National University, 2016 - 2017.

Jonathan Schaffer (Philosophy) was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Humboldt Research Award, 2016.

Susanna Schellenberg (Philosophy) received the "Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award" from Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in December 2015. She has also been elected a recipient of a Humboldt Research Award in recognition of lifetime achievements.

Richard Schroeder (Geography) was awarded the Robert McCorkle Netting Award from the Association of American Geographers, a lifetime achievement award for work in the area of Cultural and Political Ecology. Granted by the AAG’s CAPE specialty group, the award is intended to recognize scholars who have distinguished research and professional activities that bridge geography and anthropology. 

Samah Selim (African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures) and her co-authors were recognized as the 2016 “Linguists of the Year” by the Inttranet™, the global network of professional interpreters and translators, for their work, Mona Baker (ed.), Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution, New York & London: Routledge, 2016. The text of this award notes, “the honorary Inttranet Linguists of the Year Awards recognize the struggle—and sometimes the personal sacrifice—of linguists both alive and dead who have been the focus for media attention during the past year, and have increased public awareness of the importance of linguists and languages as a result. He was also be a Visiting Distinguished Professor at American University in Egypt, Spring 2017.

Natasa Sesum (Mathematics) was selected to join the 2016 class of the Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. 

Gleb Shumyatsky (Genetics) has been awarded a 5 year Research Project Grant from NIH/NINDS for “Activity-Dependent Cellular and Molecular Events Regulating Memory.” 

Richard VanNess Simmons (Asian Languages and Cultures) has been awarded a grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, USA (蔣經國國際學術交流基金會) for his “International Workshop on the History of Colloquial Chinese — Written and Spoken” held at Rutgers, March 2016. 

Nancy Sinkoff (Jewish Studies) was awarded a year-long fellowship in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University, 2016-2017, and at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, for the theme, “Political Ramifications: Expanding the Boundaries of Jewish Political Thought,” 2016-2017.

Avraham Soffer (Mathematics) was awarded 2016 Simons Fellowships in Mathematics and was selected to join the 2016 class of the Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. 

Weijie Song (Asian Languages and Literatures) received the Outstanding Essay Award for “Reading, Research, Reorientation” for “Jin Yong and I: Global Chinese Essay Writing Competition” from the Hong Kong Writers’ Association and Hong Kong Arts Development Council on July 23, 2016. 

Ernie Sosa (Philosophy) made the Leiter Report’s list on the most influential and living epistemologists since 1945,  January 2016.  For results, go to the following link: . 

Andy Urban (American Studies) is leading Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s participation in The New School’s Humanities Action Lab, a coalition of 20 universities, collaborating to produce student- and community-curated public projects on pressing social issues, which received a $250,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant.  He also curated "Invisible Restraints: Life and Labor at Seabrook Farms," with students and the Libraries, as part of the Humanities Action Lab's "States of Incarceration" project. This exhibition explores Seabrook Farms' layered histories, focusing in particular on the relationship between captive labor and capitalism that defined the company's employment practices and government-backed hiring strategies during the Second World War and its immediate aftermath. 

Erin Vogel (Anthropology) was awarded two grants from the Primate Action Fund, (Co-PI), The integration of research and environmental education to promote the conservation of Bornean orangutans (Pongo Pygmaeus wurmbii) in a tropical peatland forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. W.M. Erb (PI), E.R. Vogel (Co-PI), S.S. Utami Atmoko (Co-PI), Jito Sugardjito (Co-PI).

Laura Weigert (Art History) received an invitation for an Invited Professorship, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, France, November 2016.

Eugene N. White (Economics) was elected a Fellow of the Cliometrics Society, May 2016, which honors the distinguished contributions of fellows to the study of economic history.

Helene R. White (Sociology) has been selected as a fellow of the American Society of Criminology, the world’s pre-eminent criminological association. 

Ken Xiaochun Rong (Mathematics) has been elected to join the 2017 class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. 

Yael Zerubavel (Jewish Studies) was awarded a one-semester fellowship from the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor to be part of a research seminar on Israeli Histories, Societies and Cultures: Comparative Approaches, Fall 2016.

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2018 Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Read about the contributions of seventeen gifted educators who were honored on May 1 with these Arts and Sciences Awards.

Read more ...

Rutgers Faculty Book Awards 2017

RU Fac book awards top


Faculty members across Arts and Sciences won widespread recognition for their books in 2017. These remarkable works explored many stories and realms of knowledge, from the fugitive life of one of George Washington’s slaves, to the theoretical mathematics of sieves, to a grisly 19th-century murder mystery, to the connection between free trade and trafficking. All told, they illustrate the amazing range of scholarship at Rutgers’ largest and most comprehensive school.


Erica Dunbar (History) is a Finalist for the 2017 National Book Award in Nonfiction.

 Erica dunbar Erica Armstrong Dunbar 


Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital. In setting up his household, he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary and eight slaves, including Ona Judge, about whom little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. However, freedom would not come without its costs. At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property. With impeccable research, historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar weaves a powerful tale and offers fascinating new scholarship on how one young woman risked it all to gain freedom from the famous founding father.


Marisa Fuentes (Women's & Gender Studies and History) won the 2017 Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians for the best book in African American women's history. The book is also the winner of the 2016 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize and the 2016 Caribbean Studies Association Barbara Christian Prize.

 Marissa fuentes Marisa Fuentes 


Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive

In the eighteenth century, Bridgetown, Barbados, was heavily populated by both enslaved and free women. Marisa J. Fuentes creates a portrait of urban Caribbean slavery in this colonial town from the perspective of these women whose stories appear only briefly in historical records. Fuentes takes us through the streets of Bridgetown with an enslaved runaway; inside a brothel run by a freed woman of color; in the midst of a white urban household in sexual chaos; to the gallows where enslaved people were executed; and within violent scenes of enslaved women's punishments. In the process, Fuentes interrogates the archive and its historical production to expose the ongoing effects of white colonial power that constrain what can be known about these women. Combining fragmentary sources with interdisciplinary methodologies that include black feminist theory and critical studies of history and slavery, Dispossessed Lives demonstrates how the construction of the archive marked enslaved women's bodies, in life and in death. By vividly recounting enslaved life through the experiences of individual women and illuminating their conditions of confinement through the legal, sexual, and representational power wielded by slave owners, colonial authorities, and the archive, Fuentes challenges the way we write histories of vulnerable and often invisible subjects.


David Greenberg (History) won the Goldsmith Prize from Harvard’s Kennedy School for the best trade book and the Ray and Pat Browne Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association.

 David Greenberg  David Greenberg


Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency                     

Historian David Greenberg traces the rise of the institutions and practices of image-making and message-craft in American politics, from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama, while revealing the role of the behind-the-scenes image-makers and spin doctors who played a central role in this history. It combines this political history with an intellectual history of how writers and thinkers addressed these transformations in American politics and the ongoing debates over the implications for democracy in a mass-media age. “A brilliant, fast-moving narrative history of the leaders who have defined the modern American presidency.”―Bob Woodward


Kali Nicole Gross (History) won the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction.

 Kali nicole gross Kali Nicole Gross  


Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America

Shortly after a dismembered torso was discovered by a pond outside Philadelphia in 1887, investigators homed in on two suspects: Hannah Mary Tabbs, a married, working-class, black woman, and George Wilson, a former neighbor whom Tabbs implicated after her arrest. As details surrounding the shocking case emerged, both the crime and ensuing trial which spanned several months were featured in the national press. The trial brought otherwise taboo subjects such as illicit sex, adultery, and domestic violence in the black community to public attention. At the same time, the mixed race of the victim and one of his assailants exacerbated anxieties over the purity of whiteness in the post-Reconstruction era. Historian Kali Nicole Gross uses detectives' notes, trial and prison records, local newspapers, and other archival documents to reconstruct this ghastly whodunit crime in all its scandalous detail. In doing so, she gives the crime context by analyzing it against broader evidence of police treatment of black suspects and violence within the black community.


Henryk Iwaniec (Mathematics) and his co-author John Friedlander were awarded the 2017 AMS Doob Prize.

  Henrique Iwaniec Henryk Iwaniec  


Opera de Cribro

This is a truly comprehensive account of sieves and their applications, by two of the world's greatest authorities. Beginners will find a thorough introduction to the subject, with plenty of helpful motivation. The more practiced reader will appreciate the authors' insights into some of the more mysterious parts of the theory, as well as the wealth of new examples. This is a comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of sieve methods. The theory of the sieve is developed thoroughly with complete and accessible proofs of the basic theorems. Included is a wide range of applications, both to traditional questions such as those concerning primes, and to areas previously unexplored by sieve methods, such as elliptic curves, points on cubic surfaces, and quantum ergodicity. New proofs are also given of some of the central theorems of analytic number theory; these proofs emphasize and take advantage of the applicability of sieve ideas. The book contains numerous comments which provide the reader with insight into the workings of the subject, both as to what the sieve can do and what it cannot do. The authors reveal recent developments by which the parity barrier can be breached, exposing golden nuggets of the subject, previously inaccessible. The variety of the topics covered and in the levels of difficulty encountered makes this a work of value to novices and experts alike, both as an educational tool and a basic reference.


Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel (Latino Studies and Comparative Literature) and Sarah Tobias (Institute for Research on Women) won the 2017 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS)

 Screen Shot 2018 02 09 at 4.04.07 PM Screen Shot 2018 02 09 at 4.06.49 PM  Screen Shot 2018 02 09 at 4.19.14 PM 


Trans Studies: The Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities

From Caitlyn Jenner to Laverne Cox, transgender people have rapidly gained public visibility, contesting many basic assumptions about what gender and embodiment mean. The vibrant discipline of Trans Studies explores such challenges in depth, building on the insights of queer and feminist theory to raise provocative questions about the relationships among gender, sexuality, and accepted social norms.   

Trans Studies is an interdisciplinary essay collection, bringing together leading experts in this burgeoning field and offering insights about how transgender activism and scholarship might transform scholarship and public policy. Taking an intersectional approach, this theoretically sophisticated book deeply grounded in real-world concerns bridges the gaps between activism and academia by offering examples of cutting-edge activism, research, and pedagogy.


Johan Mathew (History) won the Ralph Gomory Prize from the Business History Conference. The Gomory Prize, made possible by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, recognizes historical work on the effects of business enterprises on the economic conditions of the countries in which they operate.

 Johan Mathew Johan Mathew  


Margins of the Market: Trafficking and Capitalism across the Arabian Sea

What is the relationship between trafficking and free trade? Is trafficking the perfection or the perversion of free trade? Trafficking occurs thousands of times each day at borders throughout the world, yet we have come to perceive it as something quite extraordinary. How did this happen, and what role does trafficking play in capitalism? To answer these questions, Johan Mathew traces the hidden networks that operated across the Arabian Sea in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Following the entangled history of trafficking and capitalism, he explores how the Arabian Sea reveals the gaps that haunt political borders and undermine economic models. Ultimately, he shows how capitalism was forged at the margins of the free market, where governments intervened, and traffickers turned a profit.


Stéphane Robolin (English) received the 2017 African Literature Association First Book Award for Grounds of Engagement: Apartheid-Era African American and South African Writing (Illinois University Press).

 robolin pic Stephane Robolin  


Grounds of Engagement: Apartheid-Era African American and South African Writing

Part literary history, part cultural study, Grounds of Engagement examines the relationships and exchanges between black South African and African American writers who sought to create common ground throughout the anti-apartheid era. Subject to the tyranny of segregation, authors such as Richard Wright, Bessie Head, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Michelle Cliff, and Richard Rive charted their racialized landscapes and invented freer alternative geographies. They crafted rich representations of place to challenge the stark social and spatial arrangements that framed their lives. Those representations, Robolin contends, also articulated their desires for black transnational belonging and political solidarity. The first book to examine U.S. and South African literary exchanges in spatial terms, Grounds of Engagement identifies key moments in the understudied history of black cross-cultural exchange and exposes how geography serves as an indispensable means of shaping and reshaping modern racial meaning.


Camilla Townsend (History) was awarded the Howard Francis Cline Memorial Prize for her book Annals of Native America (Oxford, 2017) at the 2018 Conference on Latin American History/American Historical Association meetings. This prize is awarded biennially to the book or article judged to be the most significant contribution to the history of indigenous people in Latin America.

 Camilla Townsend Camilla Townsend  


Annals of Native America: How the Nahuas of Colonial Mexico Kept Their History Alive

After the Spanish conquest, the Nahuas of colonial Mexico learned the Roman alphabet and used it to transcribe oral performances of traditional histories of their peoples. These texts were called xiuhpohaulli in Nahuatl and are usually referred to as “annals” now. They were produced by indigenous people and for indigenous people, without regard to European interests, and they therefore provide the closest view of pre-Columbian historiography we are ever likely to find. Over the course of the colonial era, the annals changed with the times, but for over one hundred years their flexibility allowed for incorporating the new without obliterating the old. These texts have been assumed to be anonymous, but Camilla Townsend has deduced authorship in the case of most of the key texts, and in so doing, has been able to place them securely in their proper contexts, thus rendering them more legible to modern readers. Each chapter begins with a selection from a key text, then considers who wrote it and why, before finally embarking on an exploration of its meanings.


Henry Turner (English) has been awarded the Elizabeth Dietz Memorial Award for the Best Book of the Year in Renaissance Studies and Honorable Mention, Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History by the American Society for Theater Research. 

 Henry Turner

Corporate commonwealth 


The Corporate Commonwealth: Pluralism and Political Fictions in England, 1516-1651 (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

The Corporate Commonwealth traces the evolution of corporations during the English Renaissance and explores the many types of corporations that once flourished. Along the way, the book offers important insights into our own definitions of fiction, politics, and value.  Henry S. Turner uses the resources of economic and political history, literary analysis, and political philosophy to demonstrate how a number of English institutions with corporate associations—including universities, guilds, towns and cities, and religious groups—were gradually narrowed to the commercial, for-profit corporation we know today, and how the joint-stock corporation, in turn, became both a template for the modern state and a political force that the state could no longer contain. Through innovative readings of works by Thomas More, William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, and Thomas Hobbes, among others, Turner tracks the corporation from the courts to the stage, from commonwealth to colony, and from the object of utopian fiction to the subject of tragic violence. A provocative look at the corporation’s peculiar character as both an institution and a person, The Corporate Commonwealth uses the past to suggest ways in which today’s corporations might be refashioned into a source of progressive and collective public action.


Emily Van Buskirk (Department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures) has been awarded the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) Prize for the Best Book in Literary Studies and the Modern Language Association of America twelfth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures for her Lydia Ginzburg's Prose: Reality in Search of Literature (Princeton University Press, 2016).

 Emily Van Buskirk Emily Van Buskirk  


Lydia Ginzburg’s Prose: Reality in Search of Literature

The Russian writer Lydia Ginzburg (1902–90) is best known for her Notes from the Leningrad Blockade and influential critical studies, such as On Psychological Prose, investigating the problem of literary character in French and Russian novels and memoirs. Yet she viewed her most vital work to be the extensive prose fragments, composed for the desk drawer, in which she analyzed herself and other members of the Russian intelligentsia through seven traumatic decades of Soviet history. In this book, the first full-length English-language study of the writer, Emily Van Buskirk presents Ginzburg as a figure of previously unrecognized innovation and importance in the literary landscape of the twentieth century.


Mark Wasserman (History) was awarded the Clark C. Spence Award of the Mining History Association for 2017 for the best book in mining history. 

 Mark wasserman 1 MARK WASSERMAN 


Pesos and Politics: Business, Elites, Foreigners, and Government in Mexico, 1854-1940

Historian Mark Wasserman argues that throughout this era, over the course of successive regimes, there was an evolving enterprise system that had to balance the interests of the Mexican national elite, state and local governments, large foreign corporations, and individual foreign entrepreneurs. Contrary to past assessments, Wasserman argues that no one of these groups was ever powerful enough to dominate another. Concentrating on the three most important sectors of the Mexican economy: mining, agriculture, and railroads, and employing a series of case studies of the careers of prominent Mexican business people and the operations of large U.S.-owned ranching and mining companies, Wasserman effectively demonstrates that Mexicans, in fact, controlled their economy from the 1880s through 1940; foreigners did not exploit the country; and, Mexicans established, sometimes shakily, sometimes unplanned, a system of relations between foreigners, elite and government (and later unions and peasant organizations) that maintained checks and balances on all parties.




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