Dear Alumni and Friends,

During the last several months, scholars in the Division have received accolades from around the world for their work. We are proud of all of them, though we regret we can only mention a handful here.

A notable example is David Wellbery (Germanic Studies), upon whom the Goethe Society in Weimar, Germany, will bestow its Golden Goethe Medal in June for his lifelong study of Goethe, which has transformed our understanding of the author.

New faculty often revise their dissertations in their first books. Last fall, the Modernist Studies Association honored Adrienne Brown (English Language and Literature) with its First Book Prize for The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race, showing how the skyscrapers that altered American skylines also changed our comprehension of race. Another first book, The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics in Victorian Science and Literature by Benjamin Morgan (English) received the Sonya Rudikoff Award for the best first book in Victorian Studies from the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. And in January, John Muse’s (English) Microdramas: Crucibles for Theater and Time won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for its analysis of an intriguing genre—plays less than 20 minutes long.

Other scholars chart different paths. Moving away from his dissertation on contemporary composers, Seth Brodsky (Music) produced a history of musical modernism through the lens of Freudian‐Lacanian psychoanalysis. Last fall, From 1989, or European Music and the Modernist Unconscious received the Lewis Lockwood Award of the American Musicological Society. And in literature, Ling Ma (Creative Writing, English) won the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction for her first novel, Severance.

Subsequent books illustrate scholars’ ever-increasing breadth of knowledge. Orit Bashkin (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) tackles Iraqi Jews’ resettlement in newly created Israel in Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel, co-winner of the 2018 Nikki Keddie Book Award of the Middle East Studies Association.

C. Riley Snorton’s (English) Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, which underscores the importance of black trans narratives, was honored twice in 2018–2019: the William Sanders Scarborough Prize of the Modern Languages Association and the John Boswell Prize of the American Historical Association. Snorton shared the stage at the MLA with Deborah Nelson (English), whose Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil earned the association’s top award, the James Russell Lowell Prize, for its exploration of the subjects’ antisentimental depiction of suffering in their work.

In April, Tough Enough also received the University of Chicago Press’s annual Gordon J. Laing Prize, recognizing the book published in the past three years that brought the Press the greatest distinction.

All of this outstanding scholarship would not be possible without your support. Thank you for your generosity.

Anne Walters Robertson
Dean, Division of the Humanities
Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Music