The winners of this year's University Co-op Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards, among the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin, were announced on Oct. 20 at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Dr. Michael H. Granof, chairman of the University Co-operative Society, hosted the event and announced the winners. President William Powers Jr. of The University of Texas at Austin presented the awards.
The awards are named in honor of Professor Robert W. Hamilton, the Minerva House Drysdale Regent Chair-Emeritus in Law. Hamilton was chair of the Co-op Board for 12 years, from 1989 to 2001, and was largely responsible for the Co-op's growth and profitability during that period.
The $10,000 Grand Prize winner of the Hamilton Book Award was Shirley E. Thompson of the Department of American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts for her book, "Exiles at Home: The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans."
The book demonstrates the critical role New Orleans has played in forging a national identity. New Orleans is prominent in the American imagination as an exotic city, the "city that care forgot," as un-American as possible in its racial ambiguity, moral permissiveness and dedication to the pursuit of "les bons temps."
Despite this characterization of the city as a place apart, events in New Orleans and the city's culture were central to the making of America in the crucial, culturally productive period of the 19th century. From the Louisiana Purchase to Abraham Lincoln's Reconstruction plan to Plessy v. Ferguson, 19th-century New Orleans was a test ground for America's aspirations toward justice and equality as well as a laboratory for its most pernicious experiments in injustice and inequality. Examining this formative period, this book elucidates its role in the nation's cultural and legal life.
Four writers received $3,000 runner-up prizes:
- Oscar G. Brockett, Department of Theatre and Dance, "Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States"
- Huaiyin Li, Department of History, "Village China Under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948-2008"
- Robin D. Moore, Butler School of Music, "Music in the Hispanic Caribbean"
- Richard R. Valencia, Department of Educational Psychology, "Chicano Students and the Courts: The Mexican American Legal Struggle for Educational Equality"
The awards also recognized faculty members for research and work in the fine arts.
Toyin Falola, Department of History and Center for African and African American Studies, was awarded the $10,000 Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program over many years at the university.
Marie H. Monfils, Department of Psychology, was awarded the $5,000 Best Research Paper Award for "Extinction-Reconsolidation Boundaries: Key to persistent attenuation of fear memories."
Teresa Hubbard, Department of Art and Art History, won the $3,000 Fine Arts Award for outstanding achievement by a faculty member of the College of Fine Arts.