ASWAD 2019 Book and Article Prizes

 

The ASWAD Sterling Stuckey Prize
For a second or subsequent book by a senior scholar

Jorge L. Giovannetti-Torres, Black British Migrants in Cuba: Race, Labor, and Empire in the Twentieth-Century Caribbean, 1898-1948 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

ASWAD’s Sterling Stuckey Book Prize Committee judges: Sandra Adell, Ayo A. Coly, and Herman Bennett.

Black British Migrants in Cuba is work of prodigious scholarship and a testament of the author’s scholarly imagination. At its core, the book reframes both the history of Caribbean immigration and the African diaspora by examining the subjectivities that Anglophone migrants carried with them on their sojourns to and travails in the Cuban Republic. This brilliantly conceived study juxtaposes Caribbean nationalisms, Cuban populism, Caribbean anti-blackness and black imperial consciousness in ways that only multi-lingual fluency, deep engagement with the archives and an impressive grasp of the existing historiographies affords. Professor Giovannetti-Torres has produced a work of considerable distinction that reveals how the local, diasporic and trans-national operated simultaneously in time and space. Black British Migrants in Cuba is a field defining study.


 

The ASWAD Outstanding First Book Prize

Oscar de la Torre, People of the River: Nature and Identity in Black Amazonia, 1835-1945 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018)

ASWAD’s First Book Prize Committee judges: Monique Bedasse, Jesse Shipley, Abosede George, and Benjamin Talton.

The committee was impressed by the work’s scholarship and unique methodological innovation in African diaspora studies. The book is a rich history of the black peasants of Amazonia, Oscar de la Torre highlights Afro-Brazilians’ experiences from the mid-nineteenth to the twentieth century, as they made the transition from slavery to freedom. This is a stimulating work of social and environmental history, and Torre skillfully demonstrates the extent to which their lives were intertwined with the natural landscape and with indigenous peoples. His careful and informative description of Afro-Brazilians’ intimate connection to and profound knowledge of the natural environment makes plain the imperative of centering the natural landscape and their engagement with it in the narrative. It is through this prism that he illuminates Afro-Brazilians’ identity formation around kinship structures and folk stories, as well as their efforts to maintain autonomous communities as they struggled over land, labor and citizenship. An ambitious work of History that also incorporates theoretical insights and methods from the discipline of Anthropology, de la Torre makes an important contribution to the history of the African diaspora.Finalist: Yuko Miki, Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018)


 

The ASWAD Outstanding Article Prize

Sara E. Johnson, “‘Your Mother Gave Birth to a Pig’: Power, Abuse, and Planter Linguistics in Baudry des Lozières’s Vocabulaire Congo,” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 16.1 (2018): 7-40.

ASWAD’s Outstanding Article Prize committee: Hanétha Vete-Congolo, Charisse Burden-Stelly, Minkah Makalani, and Yvonne Captain-Hidalgo.

The committee noted the depth of scholarship and intellectual ambition in this article. The committee was particularly impressed with the originality of the perspective on early contact zones as they relate to the history of enslavement of Africans in the Americas; the rigorous methodological and theoretical paradigm that frames the process of colonial knowledge production regarding African language in Saint Domingue; and the instructive and fresh insight into both colonial practices and rationale. In addition, the committee was struck by the eloquent prose and interdisciplinary approach supporting the argumentation.