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University of Illinois Professor Named Book Prize Winner

University of Illinois Professor Named Book Prize Winner


Sharon Holland, associate professor of English and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has won the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero First Book Prize for her book, Raising The Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity (Duke University Press, 2000).

The award is presented annually to a first-time published author in American Studies whose book best highlights the intersections of race with gender, class, sexuality and/or nation.

Holland is the first recipient of the award and will receive a lifetime membership in the American Studies Association. The award will be presented to her at the association’s awards ceremony this month in Houston.

“It is indeed a great honor to be chosen as the first recipient of this award,” Holland says. “My respect for Lora Romero’s work is long-standing and I am thrilled to have received an award in her honor.”

Holland’s book, Raising the Dead, is an interdisciplinary exploration of death’s relation to subjectivity in 20th-century American literature and culture. Holland contends that Black subjectivity, in particular, is connected intimately to death.

In her book, she argues that the presence of Blacks, Native Americans, women, queers and other minorities is comparable to the place that death holds in our society.

“The book is really very eclectic,” Holland says. “It reflects both my diverse intellectual agendas and my absolute belief that so many of the disciplines are interdependent, rather than separate and distinct.”

Holland has published in the fields of African American, feminist and queer studies, and is currently at work on a second book project, Between Fabrication and Generation(s): Telling the Story of a Woman.

Founded in 1951, the American Studies Association exists to promote and encourage the study of American culture past and present.

The association has more than 5,000 members, which come from diverse fields that include: history, literature, religion, art, philosophy, music, science, folklore, ethnic studies, anthropology, material culture, museum studies, sociology, government, communications, education, library science, gender studies and popular culture.

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