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An annual award presented for a nonfiction work that reflects the finest contemporary humanities-based scholarship on any topic.
Established in 2008, the IHR Transdisciplinary Humanities Book Award is presented for a non-fiction work that exemplifies transdisciplinary, socially engaged humanities-based scholarship. The award recognizes and celebrates humanities faculty authors from ASU and around the U.S. and the substantial body of transdisciplinary humanistic research reflected in their publications. Every year the IHR honors a work of academic non-fiction by a humanities faculty member, alternating years between ASU faculty and faculty from around the world with the Transdisciplinary Book Award.
A book that is transdisciplinary in methodology and scope works between, among, and within foundational models set-up by disciplines and transforms or transcends those disciplines by: restructuring conventional idea systems and practices; developing new knowledge frameworks or domains; or constructing new paradigms or focal concepts. In keeping with the mission of the IHR, the book should also focus on compelling topics of social or cultural importance—past, present, or future. Edited collections are not eligible.
Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America's Postindustrial Frontier reveals the contemporary story of Detroit’s rebirth as an upcycled version of the American Dream, which has long imagined access to work, home and upward mobility as race-neutral projects. Rebecca Kinney tackles key questions about the future of postindustrial America, and shows how the narratives of Detroit’s history are deeply steeped in material and ideological investments in whiteness. As cities around the country reckon with their own postindustrial landscapes, she cautions that development that elides considerations of race and class will only continue to replicate uneven access to the city for the poor, working class and people of color.
Rebecca J. Kinney is an interdisciplinary teacher and scholar of race, place and popular culture. She is an assistant professor in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Kinney’s book, Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) argues that contemporary stories told about Detroit’s potential for rise enables the erasure of white privilege and systemic racism in the past and present. Through situating Detroit as “beautiful wasteland” she examines how the racialized mythology of the frontier in American culture is redeployed in the stories we tell about the rise, fall and potential for rise again in Detroit. She is currently at work on a book-length study, Rust Belt Chinatowns: Restaurants, Race, and Redevelopment in the Twenty First Century which analyzes the complexities of race and redevelopment.
The United States currently has the largest carceral regime on the planet; a development without historical precedent, but not without historical explanation. In this searing critique, Jordan T. Camp traces the rise of the neoliberal carceral state to a series of turning points in U.S. history including the Watts insurrection of 1965, the Detroit rebellion of 1967, the Los Angeles uprising of 1992, and post-Katrina New Orleans in 2005. Incarcerating the Crisis argues that these events coincided with the rise of neoliberalism and the state’s crushing of social movements. Through an examination of the poetry of social movements—including those by James Baldwin, Jayne Cortez, June Jordan, and Sunni Patterson—it suggests that the making of the neoliberal carceral state was not inevitable and that there could have been, and still could be, a different world in the making.
Jordan T. Camp is a term assistant professor of American Studies at Barnard College. He is the author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016), co-editor (with Christina Heatherton) of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016), and co-editor (with Laura Pulido) of the late Clyde Woods’ Development Drowned and Reborn: The Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans (University of Georgia Press, 2017). His work also appears or is forthcoming in American Quarterly, Ord & Bild, Jacobin, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, Race & Class, as well as edited volumes including: In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and Futures of Black Radicalism (Verso, 2017).
Drawing on a deep and varied archive of materials—early sexological texts, fugitive slave narratives, Afro-modernist literature, sensationalist journalism, Hollywood films—Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity attends to how slavery and the production of racialized gender provided the foundations for an understanding of gender as mutable. In tracing the twinned genealogies of blackness and transness, Snorton follows multiple trajectories, from the medical experiments conducted on enslaved black women by J. Marion Sims, the “father of American gynecology,” to the negation of blackness that makes transnormativity possible.
C. Riley Snorton is an Associate Professor at the Africana Studies & Research Center at Cornell University. He is a recipient of a predoctoral fellowship at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University (2009), a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Pomona College (2010) and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (2015). Snorton's research and teaching expertise include cultural theory, queer and transgender theory and history, Africana studies, performance studies, and popular culture.
Ellen Gruber Garvey, Professor of English, New Jersey City University
In the days before Google and the blogosphere, Americans still valued interaction with media and preserving historical events that mattered to them, despite their lack of virtual tools to deal with the nascent age of information. So with the tenacity and ingenuity so typical of 19th century American spirit, a new method of recording and interacting with media came to the fore: scrap booking. This woefully neglected trend in American popular culture touched the lives of everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Susan B. Anthony, from emancipated slaves to confederate soldiers.
Ron Broglio, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University
Broglio posited, “We live on the same earth as animals but inhabit different worlds. How can we meet across the divide of worlds?” In his book he answers this question using phenomenology and contemporary art as tools to better understand the encounters that exist between our world and the world of animals. This exploration enhances our ability as humans to recognize animals as beings.
Rob Nixon, Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
The violence wrought by climate change, toxic drift, deforestation, oil spills, and the environmental aftermath of war takes place gradually and often invisibly. Using the innovative concept of “slow violence” to describe these threats, Rob Nixon focuses on the inattention we have paid to the attritional lethality of many environmental crises, in contrast with the sensational, spectacle-driven messaging that impels public activism today.