CAAS Prizes Announcement

Hello everyone,

It is with great pleasure that I announce this year’s winners of the Robert K. Martin Book Prize and the Ernest Redekop Essay Prize.  This is the second year for these annual prizes, and I think you’ll agree that we have another terrific group of winners and honourable mentions, and I hope you’ll join with me in congratulating them all.

Keep reading below for the winners!

The Robert K. Martin Prize is awarded for the best book published by a CAAS member in a calendar year: this year, the competition was so strong that the committee decided to award the prize jointly to two works!  In alphabetical order, the 2012 winners are Tess Chakkalakal, for her book Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth Century America (U of Illinois P, 2011), and Stephen Schryer, for his work, Fantasies of the New Class: Ideologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American Fiction (Columbia UP, 2011).  The committee was very impressed with both works.  Of Dr. Chakkalakal’s, they write that it “raises challenging questions about the meanings of freedom and love through a perceptive examination of the complex constructions and implications of marriage—legally, socially, and personally considered—in representations of American slavery.”  They describe Dr. Schryer’s study as “a rich and provocative study of the emergent aesthetics, politics, and sociology of postwar professionalism, one that leaves little doubt as to the cultural significance of the ideological formations you trace.”  Congratulations to you both!

The Ernest Redekop Prize is awarded for best article in the most recent volume of our journal, the Canadian Review of American Studies.  The Committee awarded the prize for volume 41 to Sara Humphreys’ article, “The Mass Marketing of the Colonial Captive Hannah Duston.”  Of the essay, the Committee especially noted that they admired “its historical scope (spanning from the 17th to the 20th century) and cultural range (assessing artifacts drawn from American literature, plastic arts, and material culture), as well as its lucid writing and thoroughly professional research on a persistent—and persistently—colonial myth.”

In addition to Dr. Humphrey’s work, the committee also recognized one other article for an honourable mention.  This is “The Persistence of Myth: Written Authority in the Wake of New World Discovery,” by Jan Olesen.  Dr. Olesen’s essay was recognized for its “elegant and revealing analysis of the intersections of myth and empiricism in early New World texts, which has important implications for the study of colonial discourses of North America and the Americas more generally.”

(We should also note that both of these essays appeared in CRAS Volume 41 number 2, a special issue on “Durable Americas,” edited (superbly, it would seem!) by Michael Epp.)

We will also be celebrating these prizes in Toronto, so I hope you can all join us then in a toast to these excellent scholars, as well as to thank the Prize Committee and its ever-diligent chair, Luke Bresky, for completing this large task in both a timely and graceful manner!   –Jason Haslam, President CAAS

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