UC Press is proud to publish award-winning authors and books across many disciplines. Below are several of our September and October 2023 award winners. Please join us in celebrating these scholars by sharing the news!

Caitlin Meehye Beach

2023 Charles C. Eldredge Prize, Winner
International Convention of Asia Scholars Smithsonian American Art Museum

Caitlin Meehye Beach is Assistant Professor in Art History and Affiliated Faculty in African and African American Studies at Fordham University.

Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery

From abolitionist medallions to statues of bondspeople bearing broken chains, sculpture gave visual and material form to narratives about the end of slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Sculpture at the Ends of Slavery sheds light on the complex—and at times contradictory—place of such works as they moved through a world contoured both by the devastating economy of enslavement and by international abolitionist campaigns. By examining matters of making, circulation, display, and reception, Caitlin Meehye Beach argues that sculpture stood as a highly visible but deeply unstable site from which to interrogate the politics of slavery. With focus on works by Josiah Wedgwood, Hiram Powers, Edmonia Lewis, John Bell, and Francesco Pezzicar, Beach uncovers both the radical possibilities and the conflicting limitations of art in the pursuit of justice in racial capitalism’s wake.

E Cram

2023 Book of the Year, Winner
NCA LGBTQ Communication Studies Division

E Cram is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa and associate editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Queer Studies and Communication.

Violent Inheritance: Sexuality, Land, and Energy in Making the North American West

Violent Inheritance deepens the analysis of settler colonialism’s endurance in the North American West and how infrastructures that ground sexual modernity are both reproduced and challenged by publics who have inherited them. E Cram redefines sexual modernity through extractivism, wherein sexuality functions to extract value from life including land, air, minerals, and bodies. Analyzing struggles over memory cultures through the region’s land use controversies at the turn of and well into the twentieth century, Cram unpacks the consequences of western settlement and the energy regimes that fueled it. Transfusing queer eco-criticism with archival and ethnographic research, Cram reconstructs the linkages—”land lines”—between infrastructure, violence, sexuality, and energy and shows how racialized sexual knowledges cultivated settler colonial cultures of both innervation and enervation

Mary F.E. Ebeling

2023 Surveillance Studies Network Book Award, Shortlist
Surveillance Studies Network

Mary F. E. Ebeling is Associate Professor of Sociology and affiliate faculty at the Center for Science, Technology and Society, Drexel University. She is author of Healthcare and Big Data: Digital Specters and Phantom Objects.

Afterlives of Data: Life and Debt under Capitalist Surveillance

Afterlives of Data follows the curious and multiple lives that our data live once they escape our control. Mary F. E. Ebeling’s ethnographic investigation shows how information about our health and the debt that we carry becomes biopolitical assets owned by healthcare providers, insurers, commercial data brokers, credit reporting companies, and platforms. By delving into the oceans of data built from everyday medical and debt traumas, Ebeling reveals how data about our lives come to affect our bodies and our life chances and to wholly define us.

Christina Heatherton

2023 Lora Romero First Book Prize, Honrable Mention
American Studies Association

Christina Heatherton is Elting Associate Professor of American Studies and Human Rights at Trinity College, Connecticut. She is coeditor of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter.

Arise!: Global Radicalism in the Era of the Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution was a global event that catalyzed international radicals in unexpected sites and struggles. Tracing the paths of figures like Black American artist Elizabeth Catlett, Indian anti-colonial activist M.N. Roy, Mexican revolutionary leader Ricardo Flores Magón, Okinawan migrant organizer Paul Shinsei Kōchi, and Soviet feminist Alexandra Kollontai, Arise! reveals how activists around the world found inspiration and solidarity in revolutionary Mexico. 

Adria L. Imada

2023 Sally and Ken Owens Book Award, Winner
Western Association of Women Historians

Adria L. Imada is Professor of History at University of California, Irvine, and author of the award-winning Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire.

An Archive of Skin, An Archive of Kin: Disability and Life-Making during Medical Incarceration

What was the longest and harshest medical quarantine in modern history, and how did people survive it? In Hawaiʻi beginning in 1866, men, women, and children suspected of having leprosy were removed from their families. Most were sentenced over the next century to lifelong exile at an isolated settlement. Thousands of photographs taken of their skin provided forceful, if conflicting, evidence of disease and disability for colonial health agents. And yet among these exiled people, a competing knowledge system of kinship and collectivity emerged during their incarceration. This book shows how they pieced together their own intimate archives of care and companionship through unanticipated adaptations of photography.

Ken MacLean

2023 ICAS Book Prize (Best Book in the Social Sciences), Shortlist
International Convention of Asia Scholars

Ken MacLean is a Professor at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University. He has more than two decades of experience researching state-sponsored violence, human rights violations, and conflict-induced displacement in Myanmar.

Crimes in Archival: Form Human Rights, Fact Production, and Myanmar

Crimes in Archival Form explores the many ways in which human rights “facts” are produced rather than found. Using Myanmar as his case study, Ken MacLean examines the fact-finding practices of a human rights group, two cross-border humanitarian agencies, an international law clinic, and a global NGO-led campaign. Foregrounding fact-finding, in critical yet constructive ways, prompts long overdue conversations about the possibilities and limits of human rights documentation as a mode of truth-seeking. Such conversations are particularly urgent in an era when the perpetrators of large-scale human rights violations exploit misinformation, weaponize disinformation, and employ outright falsehoods, including deepfakes, to undermine the credibility of those who document abuses and demand accountability in the court of public opinion and in courts of law. MacLean compels practitioners and scholars alike to be more transparent about how human rights “fact” production works, why it is important, and when its use should prompt concern.

Natalia Molina

2023 Armitage-Jameson Prize, Winner
Coalition for Western Women’s History

2023 David J. Weber Prize, Winner
Western History Association

Natalia Molina is Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. She is the author of the award-winning books How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts and Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879–1939 and coeditor of Relational Formations of Race: Theory, Method, and Practice.

A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community

In 1951, Doña Natalia Barraza opened the Nayarit, a Mexican restaurant in Echo Park, Los Angeles. With A Place at the Nayarit, historian Natalia Molina traces the life’s work of her grandmother, remembered by all who knew her as Doña Natalia––a generous, reserved, and extraordinarily capable woman. Doña Natalia immigrated alone from Mexico to L.A., adopted two children, and ran a successful business. She also sponsored, housed, and employed dozens of other immigrants, encouraging them to lay claim to a city long characterized by anti-Latinx racism. Together, the employees and customers of the Nayarit maintained ties to their old homes while providing one another safety and support.

Danielle R. Olden

2023 Robert G. Athearn Prize, Winner
Western History Association

Danielle R. Olden is Associate Professor of History at the University of Utah.

Racial Uncertainties: Mexican Americans, School Desegregation, and the Making of Race in Post–Civil Rights America

Mexican American racial uncertainty has long been a defining feature of US racial understanding. Were Mexican Americans white or nonwhite? In the post–civil rights period, this racial uncertainty took on new meaning as the courts, the federal bureaucracy, local school officials, parents, and community activists sought to turn Mexican American racial identity to their own benefit. This is the first book that examines the pivotal 1973 Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1 Supreme Court ruling, and how debates over Mexican Americans’ racial position helped reinforce the emerging tropes of colorblind racial ideology.

James Ptacek

2023 Robert Jerin Victimology Book of the Year, Winner
American Society of Criminology

James Ptacek is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at Suffolk University. He is author of Battered Women in the Courtroom and editor of Restorative Justice and Violence against Women.

Feeling Trapped: Social Class and Violence against Women

The relationship between class and intimate violence against women is much misunderstood. While many studies of intimate violence focus on poor and working-class women, few examine the issue comparatively in terms of class privilege and class disadvantage. James Ptacek draws on in-depth interviews with sixty women from wealthy, professional, working-class, and poor communities to investigate how social class shapes both women’s experiences of violence and the responses of their communities to this violence. Ptacek’s framing of women’s victimization as “social entrapment” links private violence to public responses and connects social inequalities to the dilemmas that women face.

Sara Ronis

2023 Canadian Jewish Literarary Awards (Thought and Culture), Winner
Canadian Jewish Literary Awards

Sara Ronis is Associate Professor of Theology at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.

Demons in the Details: Demonic Discourse and Rabbinic Culture in Late Antique Babylonia

The Babylonian Talmud is full of stories of demonic encounters, and it also includes many laws that attempt to regulate such encounters. In this book, Sara Ronis takes the reader on a journey across the rabbinic canon, exploring how late antique rabbis imagined, feared, and controlled demons. Ronis contextualizes the Talmud’s thought within the rich cultural matrix of Sasanian Babylonia, placing rabbinic thinking in conversation with Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Syriac Christian, Zoroastrian, and Second Temple Jewish texts about demons to delve into the interactive communal context in which the rabbis created boundaries between the human and the supernatural, and between themselves and other religious communities. Demons in the Details explores the wide range of ways that the rabbis participated in broader discussions about beliefs and practices with their neighbors, out of which they created a profoundly Jewish demonology.

Rashmi Sadana

2023 Pattis Family Foundation Global Cities Book Award, Runner Up
Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Rashmi Sadana is Associate Professor of Anthropology at George Mason University and author of English Heart, Hindi Heartland: The Political Life of Literature in India.

The Moving City: Scenes from the Delhi Metro and the Social Life of Infrastructure

The Moving City is a rich and intimate account of urban transformation told through the story of Delhi’s Metro, a massive infrastructure project that is reshaping the city’s social and urban landscapes. Ethnographic vignettes introduce the feel and form of the Metro and let readers experience the city, scene by scene, stop by stop, as if they, too, have come along for the ride. Laying bare the radical possibilities and concretized inequalities of the Metro, and how people live with and through its built environment, this is a story of women and men on the move, the nature of Indian aspiration, and what it takes morally and materially to sustain urban life. Through exquisite prose, Rashmi Sadana transports the reader to a city shaped by both its Metro and those who depend on it, revealing a perspective on Delhi unlike any other.

Nomi Stone

2023 Middle Eastern Section Book Award, Winner
American Anthropological Association

Nomi Stone is an award-winning anthropologist and poet. An Assistant Professor of Poetry at the University of Texas, Dallas, she was most recently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at Princeton. She is author of two ethnographic collections of poetry, Stranger’s Notebook and Kill Class, and her poems appear in The AtlanticThe New RepublicThe Nation, and widely elsewhere.

Pinelandia: An Anthropology and Field Poetics of War and Empire

Across the pine forests and deserts of America, there are mock Middle Eastern villages, mostly hidden from public view. Containing mosques, restaurants, street signs, graffiti in Arabic, and Iraqi role-players, these villages serve as military training sites for cultural literacy and special operations, both seen as crucial to victory in the Global War on Terror. In her gripping and highly original ethnography, anthropologist Nomi Stone explores US military predeployment training exercises and the lifeworlds of the Iraqi role-players employed within the mock villages, as they act out to mourn, bargain, and die like the wartime adversary or ally. Spanning fieldwork across the United States and Jordan, Pinelandia traces the devastating consequences of a military project that seeks to turn human beings into wartime technologies recruited to translate, mediate, and collaborate. Theorizing and enacting a field poetics, this work enlarges the ethnographic project into new cross-disciplinary worlds. Pinelandia is a political phenomenology of American empire and Iraq in the twenty-first century.

Armond R. Towns

2023 Critical and Cultural Studies Division Outstanding Book Award, Winner
National Communications Association

Armond R. Towns is an Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.

On Black Media Philosophy

Armond R. Towns demonstrates that humanity in media philosophy has implicitly referred to a social Darwinian understanding of the human as a Western, white, male, capitalist figure. Building on concepts from Black studies and cultural studies, Towns develops an insightful critique of this dominant conception of the human in media philosophy and introduces a foundation for Black media philosophy.

Ahmed White

2022 Richard A. Lester Prize for Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations, Winner
Princeton University Industrial Relations Section

Ahmed White teaches labor and criminal law at the University of Colorado Boulder and is author of The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America.

Under the Iron Heel: The Wobblies and the Capitalist War on Radical Workers

In 1917, the Industrial Workers of the World was rapidly gaining strength and members. Within a decade, this radical union was effectively destroyed, the victim of the most remarkable campaign of legal repression and vigilantism in American history. Under the Iron Heel is the first comprehensive account of this campaign. Founded in 1905, the IWW offered to the millions of workers aggrieved by industrial capitalism the promise of a better world. But its growth, coinciding with World War I and the Russian Revolution and driven by uncompromising militancy, was seen by powerful capitalists and government officials as an existential threat that had to be eliminated. In Under the Iron Heel, Ahmed White documents the torrent of legal persecution and extralegal, sometimes lethal violence that shattered the IWW. In so doing, he reveals the remarkable courage of those who faced this campaign, lays bare the origins of the profoundly unequal and conflicted nation we know today, and uncovers disturbing truths about the law, political repression, and the limits of free speech and association in class society.

Anand A. Yang

2023 ICAS Book Prize (Best Book in the Social Humanities), Longlist
International Convention of Asia Scholars

Anand A. Yang is the Walker Family Endowed Professor in History at the University of Washington and the author of The Limited Raj and Bazaar India.

Empire of Convicts: Indian Penal Labor in Colonial Southeast Asia

Empire of Convicts focuses on male and female Indians incarcerated in Southeast Asia for criminal and political offenses committed in colonial South Asia. From the seventeenth century onward, penal transportation was a key strategy of British imperial rule, exemplified by deportations first to the Americas and later to Australia. Case studies from the insular prisons of Bengkulu, Penang, and Singapore illuminate another carceral regime in the Indian Ocean World that brought South Asia and Southeast Asia together through a global system of forced migration and coerced labor. A major contribution to histories of crime and punishment, prisons, law, labor, transportation, migration, colonialism, and the Indian Ocean World, Empire of Convicts narrates the experiences of Indian bandwars (convicts) and shows how they exercised agency in difficult situations, fashioning their own worlds and even becoming “their own warders.” Anand A. Yang brings long journeys across kala pani (black waters) to life in a deeply researched and engrossing account that moves fluidly between local and global contexts.