UC Press is proud to publish award-winning authors and books across many disciplines. Below are some of our recent award winners from October and November 2021. Please join us in celebrating these scholars by sharing the news!
Premios Nacionales Alejandro Ángel Escobar (Social Science & Humanities Category) 2021, Honorable Mention
Fundación Alejandro Ángel Esocbar
Lina Britto is Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University.
Before Colombia became one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine in the 1980s, traffickers from the Caribbean coast partnered with American buyers in the 1970s to make the South American country the main supplier of marijuana for a booming US drug market, fueled by the US hippie counterculture. How did Colombia become central to the creation of an international drug trafficking circuit? Marijuana Boom is the story of this forgotten history. Combining deep archival research with unprecedented oral history, Lina Britto deciphers a puzzle: Why did the Colombian coffee republic, a model of Latin American representative democracy and economic modernization, transform into a drug paradise, and at what cost?
David S. Cohen & Carole Joffe
2021 Adele E. Clarke Book Award, Honorable Mention
David S. Cohen is Professor of Law at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law in Philadelphia and is the coauthor of Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism (2015).
Carole Joffe is Professor in the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and is the author of Dispatches from the Abortion Wars (2010) and several other books on abortion provision.
Obstacle Course tells the story of abortion in America, capturing a disturbing reality of insurmountable barriers people face when trying to exercise their legal rights to medical services. Authors David S. Cohen and Carole Joffe lay bare the often arduous and unnecessarily burdensome process of terminating a pregnancy: the sabotaged decision-making, clinics in remote locations, insurance bans, harassing protesters, forced ultrasounds and dishonest medical information, arbitrary waiting periods, and unjustified procedure limitations.
Based on patients’ stories as well as interviews with abortion providers and allies from every state in the country, Obstacle Course reveals the unstoppable determination required of women in the pursuit of reproductive autonomy as well as the incredible commitment of abortion providers. Without the efforts of an unheralded army of medical professionals, clinic administrators, counselors, activists, and volunteers, what is a legal right would be meaningless for the almost one million people per year who get abortions. There is a better way—treating abortion like any other form of health care—but the United States is a long way from that ideal.
2021 First Book Prize, Honorable Mention
Modernist Studies Association
Joshua I. Cohen is Assistant Professor of Art History at The City College of New York. His writing has appeared in The Art Bulletin, African Arts, Journal of Black Studies, Wasafiri, and other publications.
Reading African art’s impact on modernism as an international phenomenon, The “Black Art” Renaissance tracks a series of twentieth-century engagements with canonical African sculpture by European, African American, and sub-Saharan African artists and theorists. Notwithstanding its occurrence during the benighted colonial period, the Paris avant-garde “discovery” of African sculpture—known then as art nègre, or “black art”—eventually came to affect nascent Afro-modernisms, whose artists and critics commandeered visual and rhetorical uses of the same sculptural canon and the same term. Within this trajectory, “black art” evolved as a framework for asserting control over appropriative practices introduced by Europeans, and it helped forge alliances by redefining concepts of humanism, race, and civilization. From the Fauves and Picasso to the Harlem Renaissance, and from the work of South African artist Ernest Mancoba to the imagery of Negritude and the École de Dakar, African sculpture’s influence proved transcontinental in scope and significance. Through this extensively researched study, Joshua I. Cohen argues that art history’s alleged centers and margins must be conceived as interconnected and mutually informing. The “Black Art” Renaissance reveals just how much modern art has owed to African art on a global scale.
Catalina de Onis
Tarla Rai Peterson Book Award in Environmental Communication 2021
National Communication Association
Catalina M. de Onís is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. She coauthored of the book “¡Ustedes tienen que limpiar las cenizas e irse de Puerto Rico para siempre!”: La lucha por la justicia ambiental, climática y energética como trasfondo del verano de Revolución Boricua 2019.
Energy Islands provides an urgent and nuanced portrait of collective action that resists racial capitalism, colonialism, and climate disruption. Weaving together historical and ethnographic research, this story challenges the master narratives of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination and site of “natural” disasters to demonstrate how fossil fuel economies are inextricably entwined with colonial practices and how local community groups in Puerto Rico have struggled against energy coloniality to mobilize and transform power from the ground up.
Catalina M. de Onís documents how these groups work to decenter continental contexts and deconstruct damaging hierarchies that devalue and exploit rural coastal communities. She highlights and collaborates with individuals who refuse the cruel logics of empire by imagining and implementing energy justice and other interconnected radical power transformations. Diving deeply into energy, islands, and power, this book engages various metaphors for alternative world-making.
Best Book Award 2022 (Theory Section)
International Studies Association
Shenila Khoja-Moolji is Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of the award-winning book Forging the Ideal Educated Girl: The Production of Desirable Subjects in Muslim South Asia.
Sovereign Attachments rethinks sovereignty by moving it out of the exclusive domain of geopolitics and legality and into cultural, religious, and gender studies. Through a close reading of a stunning array of cultural texts produced by the Pakistani state and the Pakistan-based Taliban, Shenila Khoja-Moolji theorizes sovereignty as an ongoing attachment that is negotiated in public culture. Both the state and the Taliban recruit publics into relationships of trust, protection, and fraternity by summoning models of Islamic masculinity, mobilizing kinship metaphors, and marshalling affect. In particular, masculinity and Muslimness emerge as salient performances through which sovereign attachments are harnessed. The book shifts the discussion of sovereignty away from questions about absolute dominance to ones about shared repertoires, entanglements, and co-constitution.
Best Book Prize 2021
Syrian Studies Association
Anneka Lenssen is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Berkeley.
In modern Syria, a contested territory at the intersection of differing regimes of political representation, artists ventured to develop strikingly new kinds of painting to link their images to life forces and agitated energies. Examining the works of artists Kahlil Gibran, Adham Ismail, and Fateh al-Moudarres, Beautiful Agitation explores how painters in Syria activated the mutability of form to rethink relationships of figure to ground, outward appearance to inner presence, and self to world. Drawing on archival materials in Syria and beyond, Anneka Lenssen reveals new trajectories of painterly practice in a twentieth century defined by shifting media technologies, moving populations, and the imposition of violently enforced nation-state borders. The result is a study of Arab modernism that foregrounds rather than occludes efforts to agitate against imposed identities and intersubjective relations.
2021 L. Carl Brown Book Prize
American Institute for Maghrib Studies
Peter Limbrick is Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Making Settler Cinemas: Film and Colonial Encounters in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
Arab Modernism as World Cinema explores the radically beautiful films of Moroccan filmmaker Moumen Smihi, demonstrating the importance of Moroccan and Arab film cultures in histories of world cinema. Addressing the legacy of the Nahda or “Arab Renaissance” of the nineteenth and early twentieth century—when Arab writers and artists reenergized Arab culture by engaging with other languages and societies—Peter Limbrick argues that Smihi’s films take up the spirit of the Nahda for a new age. Examining Smihi’s oeuvre, which enacts an exchange of images and ideas between Arab and non-Arab cultures, Limbrick rethinks the relation of Arab cinema to modernism and further engages debates about the use of modernist forms by filmmakers in the Global South. This original study offers new routes for thinking about world cinema and modernism in the Middle East and North Africa, and about Arab cinema in the world.
2021 Best Historical Research on Recorded Popular Music
Association for Recorded Sound Collections
Andrew Mall is Assistant Professor of Music at Northeastern University and a coeditor of Studying Congregational Music: Key Issues, Methods, and Theoretical Perspectives.
Popular music in the twenty-first century is increasingly divided into niche markets. How do fans, musicians, and music industry executives define their markets’ boundaries? What happens when musicians cross those boundaries? What can Christian music teach us about commercial popular music? In God Rock, Inc., Andrew Mall considers the aesthetic, commercial, ethical, and social boundaries of Christian popular music, from the late 1960s, when it emerged, through the 2010s. Drawing on ethnographic research, historical archives, interviews with music industry executives, and critical analyses of recordings, concerts, and music festival performances, Mall explores the tensions that have shaped this evolving market and frames broader questions about commerce, ethics, resistance, and crossover in music that defines itself as outside the mainstream.
2021 Friends of MacDonald Foundation Award
Stephen J. Pyne is Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and author of many books on the history and management of fire, including Fire: A Brief History (2nd ed.) and Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America.
A provocative rethinking of how humans and fire have evolved together over time—and our responsibility to reorient this relationship before it’s too late.
The Pyrocene tells the story of what happened when a fire-wielding species, humanity, met an especially fire-receptive time in Earth’s history. Since terrestrial life first appeared, flames have flourished. Over the past two million years, however, one genus gained the ability to manipulate fire, swiftly remaking both itself and eventually the world. We developed small guts and big heads by cooking food; we climbed the food chain by cooking landscapes; and now we have become a geologic force by cooking the planet.
Some fire uses have been direct: fire applied to convert living landscapes into hunting grounds, forage fields, farms, and pastures. Others have been indirect, through pyrotechnologies that expanded humanity’s reach beyond flame’s grasp. Still, preindustrial and Indigenous societies largely operated within broad ecological constraints that determined how, and when, living landscapes could be burned. These ancient relationships between humans and fire broke down when people began to burn fossil biomass—lithic landscapes—and humanity’s firepower became unbounded. Fire-catalyzed climate change globalized the impacts into a new geologic epoch. The Pleistocene yielded to the Pyrocene.
2021 John Hope Franklin Prize, Finalist
American Studies Association
L.H. Stallings is Professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of Mutha’ is Half a Word! Intersections of Folklore, Vernacular, Myth, and Queerness in Black Female Culture and Funk the Erotic: Transaesthetics and Black Sexual Cultures.
In A Dirty South Manifesto, L. H. Stallings celebrates the roots of radical sexual resistance in the New South—a movement that is antiracist, decolonial, and transnational. For people within economically disenfranchised segments of society, those in sexually marginalized communities, and the racially oppressed, the South has been a sexual dystopia. Throughout this book, Stallings delivers hard-hitting manifestos for the new sex wars. With her focus on contemporary Black southern life, Stallings offers an invitation to anyone who has ever imagined a way of living beyond white supremacist heteropatriarchy.
2021 Sharon Stephens Prize
American Ethnological Society
Scott Stonington, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, International Studies, and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.
The Spirit Ambulance is a journey into decision-making at the end of life in Thailand, where families attempt to craft good deaths for their elders in the face of clashing ethical frameworks, from a rapidly developing universal medical system, to national and global human-rights politics, to contemporary movements in Buddhist metaphysics. Scott Stonington’s gripping ethnography documents how Thai families attempt to pay back a “debt of life” to their elders through intensive medical care, followed by a medically assisted rush from the hospital to home to ensure a spiritually advantageous last breath. The result is a powerful exploration of the nature of death and the complexities arising from the globalization of biomedical expertise and ethics around the world.