Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Q&A with Jan Baetens about the Forgotten Art of Film Photonovels

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Jan Baetens' book The Film Photonovel: A Cultural History of Forgotten Adaptations is the first study devoted to the hybrid genre of the film photonovel. Baetens applies a comparative textual media framework to a previously overlooked aspect of the history of film and literary adaptation.

Discarded by archivists and disregarded by scholars despite its cultural impact on post–World War II Europe, the film photonovel represents a unique crossroads. This hybrid medium presented popular films in a magazine format that joined film stills or set pictures with captions and dialogue balloons to re-create a cinematic story, producing a tremendously popular blend of cinema and text that supported more than two dozen weekly or monthly publications.

Watch the author speak about his work in the book trailer video below, and dig deeper into his personal collection of this forgotten medium in this Q&A.

Could you give us the elevator pitch of your book? 

I have worked largely in the field of adaptation studies as applied to cinema, and I have always defended the idea that film is both a screen- and a print-based medium. Film circulates via all kind of printed formats and related products, and historically speaking, the film photonovel was probably the most intriguing of these print adaptations—most intriguing but, paradoxically, also the most forgotten, for the film photonovel, which was immensely popular in the late 1950s, has fallen into complete oblivion, mainly though the lack of any archive (film photonovels were not kept in university libraries, and the private archives have nearly all disappeared). My book I draws on research based on my private collection of film photonovel magazines—I currently have some 1,400 items—and aims at reconstructing the history of the film photonovel not just as a particular genre, but also as a social medium, that is, a social practice and everything that accompanies it. By doing so, I try to rewrite the history of cinema itself, for the film photonovel is a wonderful tool for showing how films were received and appropriated by popular audiences.

How do you define the film photonovel?

The photonovel is essentially a form of graphic narrative in magazine format, one very popular in pretelevision Europe, that combines sequentially organized photographs, generally six per page, and speech balloons as well as captions to tell a story—a romance in the case of the photonovel and the story line of a film in the case of the film photonovel. Film photonovels are thus a special type of novelization, a type that relies on two major features, both inspired by the photonovel model: first, the priority given to images (at the expense of the text); second, the attempt to reframe all adapted movies, whatever their genre or specific tone, as melodramas, the typical genre of the photonovel. The result is often stunning, for even if a film photonovel does not present “new” images, the selection and layout, the narrative reframing of the stories, and the invented narrative voice in the captions all serve to re-create the adapted movie in surprising and visually very attractive ways.

Why was the photonovel deemed “lowbrow”?

Four elements play a key role in the film photonovel’s cultural disrepute: first, the influence of its model, the photonovel, which was discarded as a kind of silly romance comics with pictures; second, the fact that film photonovels were published only in magazine format, never in book form; third, the association with the world of tearjerkers—in the woman-unfriendly 1950s, certainly not the best way to acquire cultural capital; fourth, the belief that film photonovels adapted only commercial movies, never art-house movies. The rebuilding of the film photonovel archive, however, allows for a completely different reading of the material and the cultural biases that have tended to blind us to its very existence. Today we know that photonovels have a very wide range, that film photonovels sometimes exceed the limits of ephemeral magazine publication, that gendered readings have to be corrected, and that art-house cinema is as well represented in the corpus as is any other type of cinema.

How does your research push the boundaries of adaptation studies?

First, my research discloses a form of adaptation that has been completely ignored, lacking not only prestige but also visibility: no archives, no direct or indirect references, no visual traces. The progressive rediscovery of this material generates a kind of Pompeii experience, for things whose very existence had been ignored suddenly become visible. Moreover, we can now better understand the film photonovel’s importance as a social phenomenon: along with going to the movies (and sometimes instead of doing so!), people read film photonovels, and their ideas on cinema were strongly influenced by their reading. Second, the film photonovel is also an important case in the debate on film adaptation. Adaptation is often seen as a one-way street, going only from book to film. Here and in my previous book on novelization, which has also contributed to this paradigm shift, we can see that this is just half the story and that adaptation does not stop once a book has been turned into a movie. Movies are ceaselessly remade in print format, and the film photonovel is without any doubt the most challenging form of these adaptations (which may also include comics, novels, posters, the “making of” books, games, etc.). At first sight, film photonovels may appear to be the poorest versions of these adaptations, since they cannot produce new images. At second sight, however, the obligation to rely exclusively on existing pictures forces the genre to be extremely inventive, as the many examples and images in the book clearly show.

How did photonovels cross borders and affect audiences in Latin America?

The production of film photonovels started in Italy around 1955 and then moved to France, nut it had also some extensions in other countries, including United Kingdom and, somewhat later, United States. In Latin America, where the photonovel was as popular as in Europe (and where, in certain countries, the medium still thrives), the European models were adapted for and appropriated by local audiences. The publishing world in Argentina was crucial in this regard: many Spanish publishing houses were active there (several companies were created by publishers who had to leave Spain during or after the Spanish Civil War), and European magazines circulated in Argentina as well (even French ones, Argentina being a very Francophile country). Some magazines, such as Secretos. Amiga y confidente de la mujer, published their own film photonovel serializations of European movies, while others, such as Superaventuras, specialized in American blockbusters. All these works were locally produced, in agreement with local distributors, as used to be the case in the film photonovel business in general.


Monday, April 1, 2019

University of Texas Press and University of Toronto Press Merge to Form “Giddy UP”

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2019 

Following months of idle speculation within academic circles, the University of Texas Press and the University of Toronto Press announced today that they are merging operations, effective immediately. The two university publishers will unite under one banner, “Giddy UP” (#GiddyUP), to build on mostly superficial parallels between the interests of scholars in the most populous city in Canada and their counterparts in the fourth-most populous city in Texas.

The merger was not inspired by shared corporate values, but, rather, the near endless confusion on social media regarding the handle @utpress. The University of Toronto Press 
New logo for Giddy UP
can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as @UTPRESS. However, readers have often mistaken @UTPRESS for @UTEXASPRESS and have tagged the Canadian institution in reference to the latest Texas publications.

To reduce the minuscule amount of staff time spent dealing with messages from confused customers, leadership at the respective scholarly presses opted to overlook geographic challenges. Both teams are excited to join forces and better serve the people of Texas from the colder climes of Ontario. The University of Texas Press social media presences @UTEXASPRESS will continue to post content, but will pivot to purely cute animals.

The new logo for the combined publishers incorporates Canada’s national sport of hockey with the well-known bovine mascot of the University of Texas at Austin.

The entire staff of the University of Texas Press will take their talents north of the border, leaving their current office space to be converted to a pop-up shop showcasing artisanal popsicles. The University of Toronto Press will expand their office to include a Tim Horton’s/Smokehouse for staff use.

To prepare for the move and requisite immigration red tape, the University of Texas Press staff members are all required watch Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey, Volumes 1-30 and University of Toronto Press staff will all learn how to line dance. Both teams are receiving training in colloquialisms such as how to use “y’all” and “eh” appropriately.



The University of Texas Press and the University of Toronto Press are pleased to announce that their operations will be merging. We have updated our logo to reflect the values of Giddy UP, our new scholarly publishing family! It’s super, eh? #GiddyUP


Important announcement! Y’all, we are merging with the University of Toronto Press under the banner “Giddy UP.” This has absolutely nothing to do with the hottest summers on record, eh? #GiddyUP


We are pleased to unveil our new logo, which reflects the recent decision by our leadership to merge with the University of Toronto Press. (and then the second and third paragraph above)

#hockey #movingtoCanada #movetoCanada #GiddyUP


Bailey Morrison, Digital Media Producer, Giddy UP


Tanya Rohrmoser, Social Media Specialist, Giddy UP

TRohermoser@giddy UP.com

Monday, March 18, 2019

UT Press at the San Antonio Book Festival

On Saturday, April 6, the University of Texas Press and five of our authors will enjoy the 7th annual San Antonio Book Festival at the Central Library (600 Soledad) and Southwest School of Art in beautiful downtown San Antonio. The Festival runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We'll have a booth in the Exhibitor Tent with tons of titles for sale at a great discount. There are a lot of fantastic authors in attendance (Tayari Jones! Elizabeth McCracken! Melissa Febos! Joe R. Lansdale! Lawrence Wright!), so we’ve distilled our authors' appearances into a single UT Press schedule.

Signing at 12:00 PM

Panel Location: Festival Room

Signing location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot
Sauceda is a photographer, entrepreneur, and author of Y’all: The Definitive Guide to Being a Texan, and most recently, A Mile Above Texas. His aerial photographs of Texas were first published in a photo essay in Texas Monthly.

The Golden Ages of Television with Barbara Morgan & Maya Perez

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Signing at 4:15 PM

Location: Festival Room

Signing location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot
Barbara Morgan Morgan co-founded the Austin Film Festival in 1993 and has served as the sole executive director since 1999. She developed and produces the TV and radio series Austin Film Festival’s On Story, currently airing on PBS stations nationally as well as on Public Radio International. She also coedited the previous volumes of On Story.

Maya Perez Perez is a writer and producer who coedited the previous volumes of On Story. She produces the television series Austin Film Festival’s On Story, currently in its seventh season on PBS, which won a Lone Star EMMY Award® for Best Arts/Entertainment Program in 2014 and was nominated for an EMMY Award® in 2016.

Billy Lee Brammer: Great Texas Writer, Wayward American Son with Tracy Daugherty

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
Signing at 5:00 PM

Location: West Terrace
Signing location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot

Daugherty has written biographies of Joan Didion, Joseph Heller, and Donald Barthelme, as well as four novels, six short story collections, a book of personal essays, and a collection of essays on literature and writing. His stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Paris Review online, McSweeney’s, Boulevard, Chelsea, The Georgia Review, Triquarterly, The Southern Review, and many other journals. Daugherty has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Artsmith, and the Vermont Studio Center. A member of PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters, he is a five-time winner of the Oregon Book Award. At Oregon State University, Daugherty helped found the Masters of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing and is now Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing, Emeritus.

Obsessed with Texas with Sarah Bird, David Norman & Mimi Swartz

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Signing at 4:45 PM

Location: West Terrace
Signing Location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot

Sarah Bird’s previous novel, Above the East China Sea, was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. Sarah has been selected for the Meryl Streep Screenwriting Lab, the B&N Discover Great Writers program, NPR’s Moth Radio series, the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and New York Libraries Books to Remember list. Her latest novel is titled Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, which is the compelling, hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. She first heard Cathy Williams’ story in the late seventies while researching African-American rodeos. Her forthcoming nonfiction collection, Recent Studies Indicate: The Best of Sarah Bird, will publish April 2.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Q&A with Professor of Animation History David McGowan

Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Felix the Cat, and other beloved cartoon characters have entertained media audiences for almost a century, outliving the human stars who were once their contemporaries in studio-era Hollywood. In his book,
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Animated Personalities: Cartoon Characters and Stardom in American Theatrical Shorts, David McGowan asserts that iconic American theatrical short cartoon characters should be legitimately regarded as stars, equal to their live-action counterparts, not only because they have enjoyed long careers, but also because their star personas have been created and marketed in ways also used for cinematic celebrities.

To celebrate the release of 
Animated Personalities, we asked David McGowan, professor in animation history at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a few questions about his research.

Could you give us the elevator pitch for your book?

Animated Personalities argues that cartoon characters should be considered legitimate stars, just like human performers. The book covers studio-era protagonists such as Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse and demonstrates how their star personas were regularly created and marketed, just as those for their live-action counterparts were. These characters were regularly shown granting “interviews” in fan magazines or endorsing products in advertisements, extending their “private” existence beyond the cartoons in which they appeared.

While I focus on articulating these personalities during the so-called “golden age” of 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, I also follow them into their later, post-theatrical years. Like many of the human stars of the screen, characters such as Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker transferred to television as studio production began to decline, and their personas had to be adapted to fit this new medium. I also consider the prolonged existence of many of these figuresat the time of writing, Mickey Mouse has recently turned ninety years of age!and how they may continue to function as stars even as they reach the upper limits of human life expectancy.

How do you define “cinematic stardom”?

While a term such as “film star” can be used as a casual descriptor for any famous screen personality, academic concepts of cinematic stardom are well established. The work of Richard Dyer remains central to our understanding of star theory, with his first major publication on the subjectStars (1979)celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year.

Dyer’s work is extremely valuable in highlighting that the cinematic system operates on a rhetoric of authenticity, aiming to present many of the artificial elements that compose the star’s image as the absolute truth. Authors such as Dyer and Richard deCordova have emphasized the importance of uncovering aspects of the performer’s private life as part of this process. The movies spark our interest in the actor, but we may have to look beyond the screen in order to get the full picture.

Early televisual stardom, by contrast, has often been characterized in terms of immediacy and direct address. The performer’s apparent spontaneity and acknowledgment of the viewer, when compared to the distant, self-enclosed worlds of cinema, seemingly made him or her more accessible to the home audience. This was often a rhetoric of authenticity itselfultimately as artificial and carefully constructed as the big screen equivalentbut we can certainly see that approaches to stardom have changed to suit different mediums, different eras, and different audience tastes.

How does your research push the boundaries of “star theory”?

In its assumption of a live-action subject, star theory has tended to take certain attributes for granted. Dyer’s work, for instance, stresses the indexicality of the star, noting that photographs provide evidence that the actor physically exists (or once existed) on a basic level. The acknowledgment that the star has a separate private life is seen as a further marker of authenticity, bound up with the realization that the performer’s off-screen conduct has the potential to reveal aspects of his or her personality that would not be visible in the films themselves. While I admit that cel-animated cartoon stars do not have actual private lives or physical existence, I argue that a textual simulacrum of these traitsif evoked appropriatelyhas generally proven an acceptable substitute. Many apparent revelations about the private lives of human stars are still subject to manipulation and

fabrication. Indeed, part of the joy of engaging with stardom as a fan is navigating between the boundaries of the real and the artificial. My research indicates many instances in which trade journals, fan magazines, and sometimes even serious newspapers and government officials were happy to play along with the notion that characters such as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny could be treated as stars.

Previous work in academic film studies has tended to overemphasize a separation between live-action media and the cartoon. This is a dangerous approach, I think, and one that has allowed star theory to adopt certain truisms that overlook the importance of animation within the studio system of that time. As I note in the book’s introduction, the cartoon characters I discuss possess a unique proximity to the live-action Hollywood studio stars privileged by authors such as Dyer: not only do they begin to appear on-screen at roughly the same time, but their work is also produced and released by the very same studios, viewed by the same audiences, and written about by the same publications.

Live-action star theory has also tended to focus on features rather than shorts, even though the short-film market of the studio era included a viable star system that is worthy of further exploration. Beyond that, certain human stars fit the current theoretical models better than others do. In some ways, Charlie Chaplin may have more in common with Felix the Cat than with, say, Humphrey Bogart, yet the live-action focus of existing theory tends to automatically accept Chaplin as a star while discounting (or simply ignoring) Felix. I hope, then, that there is an opportunity to broaden our understanding of both live-action and animated stardom by adding cartoon characters into the equation.

You draw a connection to the embodied representation of literary characters like Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, or James Bond from Ian Fleming’s series of novels. Unpack that a little more for us.

Literary characters such as Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet, or Fleming’s James Bond, began in printed text and have been realized on-screen in live-action cinema by different actors in different eras. Each new performer arguably brings part of his or her own star image to the character: beyond the inevitable physical differences between Sean Connery and Roger Moore’s incarnations of Bond, there are often performance and personality differences as well. These characters have a shaky existence, subjected to multiple remakes and reboots, as new human casts are brought in to embody them.

By contrast, there has been a tendency to imply that studio-era animated stars have an unbroken existence from their first screen appearances to the present day. The suggestion is that these are cartoon “actors” rather than characters tied to a specific continuity. This understanding is thought to make it easier for us to accept a figure such as Mickey Mouse having a completely different living situation or a brand new job in each subsequent cartoon.

While modern studios have shown a greater tendency to hire celebrity actors to perform as animated protagonistsTom Hanks as Woody from Toy Story, Mike Myers as Shrek, and so onthe earlier generation of cartoon production placed much less emphasis on the voice artists who helped to bring the characters to life. It is extremely important that we now recognize the talents of performers such as Mel Blanc and June Foray, but these duties were often carried out in the service of the animated star first and foremost. The casting of a new voice artist for, say, Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse has tended to be much less disruptive to the character’s ongoing existence than the choice of the latest actor to play Batman or Sherlock Holmes.

The book goes through the studio system up to contemporary representations termed “synthespian” performances, referring to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and other productions. What is the through line for these more modern representations of embodiment using technologies such as CG?

While it was previously easierif not necessarily accurateto make an absolute distinction between the properties of live-action cinema and those of animation, new technologies are increasingly blurring the boundaries between the two. It is now possible for stars to deliver computer-assisted “synthespian” performances in which the character’s (often photorealistic) body image appears significantly different from that of the actor’s real physical appearance. We are also seeing a rise in “posthumous performances,” using CGI to create a new screen appearance from a subject who is no longer aliveeven, in some cases, featuring in roles that were never discussed during his or her lifetime. Such developments complicate the assumptions surrounding photographic indexicality and the role of the private life of the star, which were central in previous generations of star theory.
It is possible that cinematic tastes may swing back toward the physical; the fan debates about the inclusion of the late Carrie Fisher in the upcoming Star WarsEpisode IX, for instance, indicate anxieties about using CGI to evoke dead performers in newly produced works. Nonetheless, we are undoubtedly seeing more examples of performances that place less emphasis on direct embodiment by a star. I conclude the book by suggesting that looking back to the past, and to the approaches used for studio-era animated stars, may help us make sense of a cinematic future in which live-action footage and computer-generated images become ever more closely intertwined.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Two Author-Curated Playlists for Go Ahead in the Rain

Originally posted to Largehearted Boy, these curated playlists by NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR Hanif Abdurraqib—author of Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Questoffer insight behind the music of A Tribe Called Quest, drawing from the music that inspired them and their sampling. Hanif writes:
I felt like it would be easier to pick a handful of Tribe Called Quest songs that I loved. Instead, I wanted to pick songs that showed the sounds Tribe was pulling from, and I wanted to pick songs by artists who committed themselves to building on Tribe's legacy in the years they weren't active. This book is, largely, about lineage and about how music can build pathways of curiosity and knowing. So, it made sense to populate a playlist with the music that Tribe chased after to make their own.



Spin these amazing playlists and don't forget that we are giving away ten copies of Go Ahead in the RainSubscribe to our email list by this Sunday, February 10th at midnight for your chance to win some book love by Valentine's Day!

Book Tour

Catch Hanif Abdurraqib's Go Ahead in the Rain tour this spring and summer!

Praise for the Book


  • New York Times: “[W]arm, immediate, and intensely personal...This lush and generous book is a call to pay proper respects not just to a sound but to a feeling.” 
  • Washington Post: “[R]iveting and poetic…Abdurraqib’s gift is his ability to flip from a wide angel to a zoom with ease. He is a five-tool writer, slipping out of the timeline to deliver vivid, memoiristic splashes as well as letters he's crafted to directly address the central players, dead and living.” 
  • NPR: "Go Ahead in the Rain is at once an extended critical essay, a hip-hop history, and a series of love letters to A Tribe Called Quest, and particularly to the group's two star MCs, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. . . . [Abdurraqib] has a seemingly limitless capacity to share what moves him, which means that to read Go Ahead in the Rain, you don't need to be a Tribe Called Quest fan: Abdurraqib will make you one. His love for the group is infectious, even when it breaks his heart."
  • Mancunion: “Abdurraqib...manages to write about music by making his language a type of music. He pays homage to A Tribe Called Quest in the only way fitting, with flow and charm and emotional rawness.” 


  • Nylon: “In his personalized approach to the group’s musical legacy, Abdurraqib articultes how the group helped to define his personal growth, helping readers appreciate the power that our favorite acts have in helping us create a durable sense of identity.” 
  • Columbus Alive: “Fans of Abdurraqib’s writing will recognize his ability to seamlessly weave together stories about multiple, often disparate topics. Whether he’s reminiscing about his failed attempt to master the trumpet as a child, or geeking out over the history of sampling in hip-hop, or dissecting a 2011 Tribe documentary, each story serves the larger purpose: recounting the life of A Tribe Called Quest through a fan’s eyes.” 
  • Student Life (from Washington University in St. Louis): “Thursday night, as poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib stepped behind the podium to read, the room was overflowing, with people crammed into the aisles and standing practically in the hallway to hear him read pieces that touched on everything from a fight in a New Haven pizza parlor to spades to the criminally overlooked Mary Clayton.” 
  • Pittsburgh City Paper
  • Bookin’ w/ Jason Jefferies Podcast
  • ShutdownFullcast Podcast
  • The Opus Podcast (about Jimi Hendrix). 



  • Lit Hub: “12 Books You Should Read This February”: “…the book promises to be a stunning blend of author and subject.” 
  • Austin360: “Pop Culture Coming in February”: “The outstanding poet pens an ode to one of the greatest groups of all time.” 

Winter Institute Recaps

  • Shelf Awareness: “’I would hope that folks in the back would move up closer,’ [Abdurraqib] said. “You don’t have to sit on the floor, but you can if you want. If we can all make a pledge to get closer to each other…Is that something we can do? If I come down there, can you come up here?’ The open space quickly filled with book—and music—people. As he says, the idea of a sample ‘is to hear the world differently.’” 
  • American Bookseller’s Assocation: “’That’s why books should be written,’ he said. ‘If we’re lucky, we’re building a life for ourselves just by existing and being in proximity with people who we love and care about. We’re building a life that deserves to be echoed into some corners after we’re gone.’” 

Book Trailers


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hanif Abdurraqib's 'Go Ahead in the Rain' at Winter Institute

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Every year, the American Booksellers Association gathers independent booksellers together for professional development and author appearances at their Winter Institute meeting. This year's Winter Institute was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and hosted authors Reshma Saujani, Margaret Atwood, and our own author—poet, essayist, and music expert Hanif Abdurraqib. Hanif's keynote was delivered to a packed auditorium, as he read passages from his latest book Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest and emphasized how bookstores had shaped his life as a reader and a writer. The audience connected deeply to Hanif's incredible, writerly voice and his deep love for bookstores. Read Robert Gray's summary of the keynote address for Shelf Awareness.

Before the keynote, we scoped out the auditorium. Well be honest; everyone involved was a little nervous about how many people would show up to see Hanif. The room seemed huge, and the podium onstage quite formal—a far cry from the ice cream parlors and cozy, local bookstores Hanif's voice has graced at his readings in the past.

As booksellers started to stream into the auditorium, Hanif began to read Go Ahead in the Rain passages on stage, from behind the podium. At some point, attendance swelled and Hanif left the stage to read closer to the audience. He welcomed those who wished to come forward and sit at his feet, which were characteristically adorned in the freshest kicks.

The response on social media was overwhelming. In advance of Go Ahead in the Rain's publication date next Friday, February 1st, we gathered a selection of the social media love for Hanif and for his book to celebrate a truly masterful piece of music writing. A special thanks to the American Booksellers Association for inviting Hanif to give a keynote, which is a huge platform for a university press author. Most of all, though, our deepest gratitude to all the booksellers who engaged with Hanif and his book during Winter Institute this year. The University of Texas Press is honored to share Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest with communities of readers across the country and around the world.

And finally, a sampling of the Twitter love:

Follow Hanif Abdurraqib on social media for dispatches from his upcoming appearances (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram). Follow the University of Texas Press on social media for more books and author news!


Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 in Book Awards and Distinctions

As we look back on 2018, we will be sharing our proudest moments here at the University of Texas Press. As a testament to the high-quality scholarship our authors have produced and the heroic efforts by our editorial staff, we are pleased to highlight the books, below, that have earned awards or distinctions in 2018.

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Tom Dillehay’s Where the Land Meets the Sea: Fourteen Millennia of Human History at Huaca Prieta, Peru

2018 Society for American Archaeology's Book Award 

"This volume is a foundational landmark, and can be used to teach students both at undergraduate and graduate levels to provide guidance for how to conduct and publish future archaeological research."


American Studies

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Stacy I. Morgan's Frankie and Johnny: Race, Gender, and the Work of African American Folklore in 1930s America

2018 Wayland D. Hand Prize (co-winner) 

“I am extremely impressed by this book. I think it will be a valuable addition to African American studies, American studies, cultural studies, and popular culture studies.”

James Smethurst, University of Massachusetts Amherst, author of The African American Roots of Modernism: From Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance

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Holly Gleason’s Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives

2018 Belmont Award for the Best Book on Country Music 

“Woman Walk the Line radiates heartfelt sincerity, revealing how women in country music—world-famous and little-known, black and white, vintage and contemporary—helped shape the lives of many different kinds of women. It’s concrete evidence that country should and does belong just as much to women as to men.”

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—Ann Powers, author of Good Booty


Dawoud Bey's Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply

Paris PhotoAperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist 

"Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States."

Photo-eye Blog

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Classics and Ancient World

2018 AAP Prose Awards, Classics Category

"Hunt, Smith, and Stok have produced a valuable and useful book…Especially as Classics continues to be a source of interest and even contention in the public eye, the history of the field should remain of vital interest to students…The present volume offers a rich and engaging starting point."

New England Classical Journal

Middle Eastern Studies

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Ahmed Naji’s Using LifeIllustrations by Ayman Al Zorkany, translated by Benjamin Koerber

2018 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards Shortlist 

Using Life is a riotous novel about a failing state, a corrupt city, a hypocritical authority, but it is also about tequila shots and getting laid and smoking weed with your infuriating girlfriend and debating whether rock music died in the seventies and if Quentin Tarantino is a genius or a fraud. It’s a young man’s book. A young man whose youth is colliding with a dark moment in history.”

—Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books

2018 Khayrallah Prize in Migration Studies 

“A groundbreaking work that presents the social configuration of Arabic-speaking migrants and their descendants in a new and revelatory light. This study stands to be an excellent example of a global, connected colonial approach to migration and nationalism. It reconfigures Latin American and Middle Eastern studies in a sound and compelling way, highlighting the ways in which Mexico and the Levant participate in, and interact with, the same structures of power.”

Christina Civantos, University of Miami, author of Between Argentines and Arabs: Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity

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Film, Media & Popular Culture

Linda Mizejewski and Victoria Sturtevant’s Hysterical! Women in American Comedy

2018 Susan Koppleman Award for Best Anthology, Multi-Authored, or Edited Book in Feminist Studies, Popular and American Culture Associations (PACA) 

"Here to meet all your funny female deep-read needs . . . a juicy read for those who love the many ways female comics use their art to question the patriarchy."


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Mark Heimermann and Brittany Tullis’s Picturing Childhood: Youth in Transnational Comics

2018 Best Academic/Scholarly work, Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Shortlist 

Picturing Childhood is a much needed and long-awaited interdisciplinary project that looks at representations of children throughout the history of comics.”

Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literature

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Jennifer Fronc's Monitoring the Movies: The Fight over Film Censorship in Early Twentieth-Century Urban America

2017 Richard Wall Memorial Award finalist (Theatre Library Association)

“Not unlike Facebook, the nascent movie industry resisted regulation; it fought back with self-imposed guidelines aided by the rhetoric of civil libertarians. . . . Fronc has written an engaging and balanced account of questions whose debating points remain relevant today.”

Shepherd Express

2018 AAP Prose Awards, Biological Anthropology, Ancient History & Archaeology category 
2018 Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize
2017 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, Honorable Mention

“This volume goes a long way toward explaining and interpreting Inca khipus as encoded political, social, ritual, and economic structures, and as such, is essential reading not only for all Peruvianists and students of ancient civilizations but also, because of the book's code-breaking arguments related to binary coding, hierarchy, and markedness, for scholars in those areas as well.”


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2018 Annual Association for Latin American Art/Arvey Foundation Margaret Arvey Book Award 

“Deeply researched and passionately argued, this book is a model for effective transnational scholarship. Much like her protagonists, Montgomery is a visionary.”

—Tatiana Flores, Rutgers University, author of Mexico’s Revolutionary Avant-Gardes: From Estridentismo to ¡30-30!

2018 LASA Mexico Humanities Book Award 

“A rich history of how race was conceptualized and materially inscribed in colonial Mexico—and a pleasure to read. The book’s contributions are manifold, and it will be in conversation with other books in the field, while expanding the discussions with which the colonial period can engage.”

—Ivonne del Valle, University of California, Berkeley

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Amy Sara Carroll’s REMEX: Toward and Art History of the NAFTA Era 

2018 LASA Mexico Humanities Book Award, Honorable Mention
2017 MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, Honorable Mention

“Incredibly smart, well-articulated, and very much needed. REMEX is not only an important contribution to the fields of Mexican and border visual cultural and performance studies, but it is the book that will move the conversations in the fields in new and provocative ways. It is the book many of us have been waiting for.”

Laura G. Gutiérrez, University of Texas at Austin, author of Performing Mexicanidad: Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational Stage

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John Lear’s Picturing the Proletariat: Artists and Labor in Revolutionary Mexico 19081940

2018 LASA Mexico Humanities Book Award, Honorable Mention

“This superb study intertwines a history of artistic representations of Mexican workers on public walls and in labor publications with that of the artists who produced them. I know of no other work that attempts such an endeavor and, though it is an ambitious project, it is most successful. The wide swath cut by Lear makes the book important for a broad audience: those interested in the history of Mexico, the history of Mexican labor, and the history of Mexican art. The scholarship is impeccable.”

John Mraz, Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, author of Photographing the Mexican Revolution: Commitments, Testimonies, Icons

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Mariana Mora’s Kuxlejal Politics: Indigenous Autonomy, Race, and Decolonizing Research in Zapatista Communities

2018 LASA Mexico Social Science Book Award, Honorable Mention

Kuxlejal Politics is a most eloquent testimony to the dynamic Zapatista struggle and to what an engaged academy can do when it genuinely walks along the paths of subaltern groups intent on defending their worlds. By theorizing and embodying a farsighted vision of decolonized and decolonizing research, Mora renews our commitment to the idea that another academy is possible and practicable. This work is a gift to us all by one of the most inventive exponents of Mexican anthropology at present, in the best tradition of Latin American critical thought.”

Arturo Escobar, Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Robert W. Wilcox’s Cattle in the Backlands: Mato Grosso and the Evolution of Ranching in the Brazilian Tropics

2018 Henry A. Wallace Award, The Agricultural History Society 

“This book fills a large hole in historical scholarship. English-language treatments of ranching history anywhere in Brazil are few and far between. It also makes a strong case for the importance of linking agro-pastoral studies to environmental specificity and to careful consideration of labor practices.”

Thomas D. Rogers, Emory University, author of the award-winning book The Deepest Wounds: A Labor and Environmental History of Sugar in Northeast Brazil

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Isabel M. Córdova’s Pushing in Silence: Modernizing Puerto Rico and the Medicalization of Childbirth

2018 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize 

“A brilliantly written, accessible, and comprehensive analysis of the multifaceted social, cultural, and historical conditions that led to the medicalization of birthing in Puerto Rico, which enabled doctors to replace midwives. This history has not been written before. The research is original and unique and is a contribution to the fields of sociology, anthropology, history, and biomedicine.”

Iris O. Lopez, City College of New York, author of Matters of Choice: Puerto Rican Women’s Struggle for Reproductive Freedom

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Patricia Acerbi’s Street Occupations: Urban Vending in Rio de Janeiro, 18501925

2017 Warren Dean Memorial Prize in Brazilian Studies, Conference on Latin American History 

“This book makes a huge contribution to our understanding of street life and commerce in Rio de Janeiro and to the transition from flexible slavery to radically unequal freedom. Acerbi’s research is extensive and groundbreaking.”

Bryan McCann, Georgetown University, author of Hard Times in the Marvelous City: From Dictatorship to Democracy in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro