UC Press is proud to publish award-winning authors and books across many disciplines. Below are several of our January 2024 award winners. Please join us in celebrating these scholars by sharing the news!

Mira Balberg

Schol­ar­ship Nahum Sar­na Memo­r­i­al Award 2024, Winner
Jewish Book Council

Mira Balberg is Professor of History and Endowed Chair in Ancient Jewish Civilization at the University of California, San Diego. She is author of Purity, Body, and Self in Early Rabbinic Literature and Blood for Thought: The Reinvention of Sacrifice in Early Rabbinic Literature and coauthor of When Near Becomes Far: Old Age in Rabbinic Literature.

Fractured Tablets: Forgetfulness and Fallibility in Late Ancient Rabbinic Culture

This book examines the significant role that memory failures play in early rabbinic literature. The rabbis who shaped Judaism in late antiquity envisioned the commitment to the Torah and its commandments as governing every aspect of a person’s life. Their vision of a Jewish subject who must keep constant mental track of multiple obligations and teachings led them to be preoccupied with forgetting: forgetting tasks, forgetting facts, forgetting texts, and—most broadly—forgetting the Torah altogether. In Fractured Tablets, Mira Balberg examines the ways in which the early rabbis approached and delineated the possibility of forgetfulness in practice and study and the solutions and responses they conjured for forgetfulness, along with the ways in which they used human fallibility to bolster their vision of Jewish observance and their own roles as religious experts. In the process, Balberg shows that the rabbis’ intense preoccupation with the prospect of forgetfulness was a meaningful ideological choice, with profound implications for our understanding of Judaism in late antiquity.

Lia Brozgal

Sephardic Culture/Mimi S. Frank Award in Memory of Becky Levy, Finalist
Jewish Book Council

Lia Brozgal is Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies at University of California, Los Angeles. Her most recent book is Absent the Archive: Cultural Traces of a Massacre in Paris (17 October 1961).

A Jewish Childhood in the Muslim Mediterranean: A Collection of Stories Curated by Leïla Sebbar

A Jewish Childhood in the Muslim Mediterranean brings together the fascinating personal stories of Jewish writers, scholars, and intellectuals who came of age in lands where Islam was the dominant religion and everyday life was infused with the politics of the French imperial project. Prompted by novelist Leïla Sebbar to reflect on their childhoods, these writers offer literary portraits that gesture to a universal condition while also shedding light on the exceptional nature of certain experiences. The childhoods captured here are undeniably Jewish, but they are also Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Egyptian, Lebanese, and Turkish; each essay thus testifies to the multicultural, multilingual, and multi-faith community into which its author was born. The present translation makes this unique collection available to an English-speaking public for the first time. The original version, published in French in 2012, was awarded the Prix Haïm Zafrani, a prize given by the Elie Wiesel Institute of Jewish Studies to a literary project that valorizes Jewish civilization in the Muslim world.

Janet Garcia-Hallett

Academy of Criminal Justice Science Outstanding Book Award 2024, Winner
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

Janet Garcia-Hallett, an Afro-Latina mother and a product of Harlem, is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences.

Invisible Mothers: Unseen Yet Hypervisible after Incarceration

Drawing on interviews conducted throughout New York City, Black feminist criminologist Janet Garcia-Hallett shares the traditionally silenced voices of formerly incarcerated mothers of color and exposes the difficult realities they face when reentering the community and navigating motherhood. Patriarchy, misogyny, and systemic racism marginalize and criminalize these mothers, pushing them into the grasp of penal control and forcing them to live in a state of disempowerment and hypersurveillance after imprisonment. Armed with critical insight, Invisible Mothers demonstrates the paradox of visibility: social institutions treat mothers of color as invisible by restricting them from equal opportunities, and simultaneously as hypervisible by penalizing them for the ways they survive their marginalization. This thoughtful book reveals and contests their marginalization and highlights how mothers of color perform motherwork on their own terms.

Andrea Giunta

Frank Jewett Mather Award 2024, Honorable Mention
College Art Association

Andrea Giunta is Professor of Latin American and Modern and Contemporary Art at Buenos Aires University and Principal Researcher at CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council). She was cofounding director of CLAVIS, the Center for Latin American Visual Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.

The Political Body: Stories on Art, Feminism, and Emancipation in Latin America

In The Political Body, art historian Andrea Giunta explores gender and power in the work of Latin American artists from the 1960s to the present. Questioning the social place of women and proposing alternative understandings of biological bodies, these artists eroded repressive systems and created symbolic strategies of resistance to dictatorships, racism, and marginalization. Giunta presents close readings of works—paintings, films, photography, multimedia art, installations, and performances—by a myriad of artists spanning from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay to Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Examining themes of visibility, subjectivity, empathy, and liberation, The Political Body tells the story of an ongoing revolution, providing an active intervention in the history of feminist art in and beyond Latin America.

Michael Philip Penn, Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, Christine Shepardson and Charles M. Stang

Best Historical Materials 2023, Winner
ALA Reference and User Services Association

Robert Desjarlais teaches anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He is the author of numerous books, including Subject to Death: Life and Loss in a Buddhist World and The Blind Man: A Phantasmography.

Invitation to Syriac Christianity: An Anthology

Despite their centrality to the history of Christianity in the East, Syriac Christians have generally been excluded from modern accounts of the faith. Originating from Mesopotamia, Syriac Christians quickly spread across Eurasia, from Turkey to China, developing a distinctive and influential form of Christianity that connected empires. These early Christians wrote in the language of Syriac, the lingua franca of the late ancient Middle East, and a dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Collecting key foundational Syriac texts from the second to the fourteenth centuries, this anthology provides unique access to one of the most intriguing, but least known, branches of the Christian tradition.