AUSTIN, Texas — When Charles Ramirez Berg was 3 years old, his brother took him to see “Cinderella” at the Plaza Theater in El Paso. Thus began a lifelong fascination with movies, as reflected in his latest work, “The Classical Mexican Cinema: The Poetics of the Exceptional Golden Age Films” (University of Texas Press), Grand Prize winner of the 2016 University Co-op Robert W. Hamilton Book Award.
“The list of nominees this year is a remarkable reflection of the breadth and depth of scholarship at The University of Texas at Austin. Scholarship that deepens and enriches our engagement with students through teaching and mentorship,” said Dan Jaffe, vice president for research at UT Austin.
The $10,000 Hamilton Award is the highest honor for literary achievement given by the university to UT Austin authors. The awards are named for Robert W. Hamilton, the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair-Emeritus in Law, who served as chair of the board of the University Co-op from 1989 to 2001.
Ramirez Berg, the Joe M. Dealey, Sr. Professor in Media Studies in the Moody College of Communication, is a film historian and critic with an interest in Mexican cinema. He wrote “The Classical Mexican Cinema” because “there has never been a book that analyzed the cinematic style of Mexico’s classical Golden Age films of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.” This Golden Age saw directors make films with a Mexican aesthetic and the growth of the Mexican film industry into the powerhouse of Spanish-language film.
Three other UT Austin professors received $3,000 runner-up prizes:
- Kamran Ali, Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts, for “Communism in Pakistan: Politics and Class Activism 1947-1972” (I.B. Tauris & Co.).
- Madeline Y. Hsu, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, for “The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority” (Princeton University Press).
- Luis H. Zayas, dean of the School of Social Work, for “Forgotten Citizens: Deportation, Children, and the Making of American Exiles and Orphans” (Oxford University Press).
The University Co-operative Society also presented the 2016 Awards for Research.
Thomas J.R. Hughes, the Peter O’Donnell Jr. chair in computational and applied mathematics, received the $10,000 Career Research Excellence Award. The award recognizes his pioneering research contributions to the analysis of structural, solid and fluid systems, and for the development of computational methods incorporated into industrial and commercial software used throughout the world.
Steven M. Phelps, associate professor of integrative biology, won the $3,000 Best Research Paper Award for “Sexual fidelity trade-offs promote regulatory variation in the prairie vole brain.” The paper is an extraordinarily creative combination of genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience, behavior and evolution and has been recognized as a landmark study.
Susan E. Mickey, professor of design and technology, received a $3,000 Creative Research Award in recognition of her longstanding excellence. Her costume designs were featured in a new production of “The Marriage of Figaro,” the season opener for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She also designed costumes for the world premiere of the new Paul Gordon musical “Sense and Sensibility” at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre that were nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Costume Design.
Dean H. Young, professor of English and the William Livingston Chair of Poetry, also received a $3,000 Creative Research Award. Young is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the Poet Laureate of Texas for 2014, and recipient of numerous honors including Guggenheim and NEA fellowships.
The University Co-op is a not-for-profit corporation owned by UT Austin students, faculty members and staffers. Since 2000, it has given more than $34 million to the university in gifts, grants and rebates.