The Gordon J. Laing Prize is awarded annually by the University of Chicago Press to the faculty author, editor, or translator of a book published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction. The varied expertise of past recipients has spanned the disciplines—from intellectual property wars and evolutionary theory to racial profiling and eighteenth-century Italian opera—and helped to generate an enviable listing of scholars that the University is lucky to call their own. On top of all that, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Prize, first awarded to Bernard Weinberg in 1963 for A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance.
This year, the 2013 Laing Prize went to Andreas Glaeser, associate professor of soci0logy at the University, for Political Epistemics: The Secret Police, the Opposition, and the End of East German Socialism. Glaeser’s book considers socialist East Germany’s unexpected self-dissolution in 1989, building on extensive in-depth interviews with former secret police officers and the dissidents they tried to control, among other resources, to offer an epistemic account of socialism’s failure that differs markedly from existing explanations.
Included below are some snapshots from the recent Laing Prize reception taken by . . .
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The University of Chicago Press extends its congratulations to our own Unoriginal Genius Marjorie Perloff—whose astute exploits in literary theory, criticism of twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetics, and consideration of the visual arts we’ve blogged about before, now and again. Why raise another glass to Marjorie?
Well, the American Philosophical Society—the nation’s oldest and most esteemed scholarly organization (founded in 1743)—whose mission is to “promote useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach,” just called her a member. Among her cohort of those inducted with distinction in the humanities? Mary Beard, Marjorie Graber, Wu Hung, Rosalind Krauss, Brent D. Shaw, and Salvatore Settis, in a class of 2012 inductees that extended its reach through the arts and public affairs (along with the physical, natural, and social sciences) to include such luminaries as Jill Abramson, William Kentridge, Cormac McCarthy, Gerhard Richter, and Richard Serra.
We’ve been lucky enough to shepherd several of Perloff’s books into publication, and though the list only reflects a portion of her overwhelming scholarship, it’s nothing to shake a stick at. Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media, John Cage: Composed in America, Frank . . .
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Adrian Johns is having a pretty good series of weeks. Earlier this month, the intellectual property specialist was named a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. The chair of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and the Allan Grant Maclear Professor in History at the University of Chicago, Johns plans to use his Guggenheim funding to study the intellectual property defense industry.
Johns is no stranger to prizes. His earlier work The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making won the Leo Gershoy Award of the American Historical Association, the John Ben Snow Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the Louis Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the SHARP Prize for the best work on the history of authorship, reading and publishing. Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, his most recent volume, won the American Society for Information Science and Technology’s Book of the Year Award and was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title.
Just yesterday, Johns was feted in a ceremony bestowing yet another honor on his work with Piracy, the Gordon J. Laing Prize for best faculty author, editor or translator of a book published in . . .
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For the second year in a row, a former Phoenix Poet has taken home the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize—and, for W. S. Di Piero, the legacy is a long, tall glass of water. He joins the company of twenty-six fellow poets who have soldered the experience of working class lives into indomitable verse, like Philip Levine; those who, like C. K. Williams and Adrienne Rich, have championed social issues and countered injustice; and those, like John Ashbery, who also deal in the criticism of the visual arts.
What makes Di Piero unique, in a body of work conjures the presence of divinity in everyday life, redresses the grievances of a working-class South Philadelphia upbringing, and moves with effortless comfort from plain-style speech to bold translations from Euripides and Giacomo Leopardi, is exactly what doesn’t. He tells the truth, and I think it’s fair to say, it’s not slant. Di Piero questions poets and the quotidian equally, and what he arrives at is often something close to a sense of permission.
As Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine stated the Foundation’s official announcement:
“R. P. Blackmur once said that great poetry ‘adds to the stock of available reality,’ and . . .
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The 2012 class of Guggenheim Fellows was announced this week by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, inciting some exuberant responses on the part of several winners (check out Terry Teachout’s Twitter feed). The Guggenheim has long been hailed as the “mid-career award,” honoring scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and writers, who have likely published a book or three, professed a fair amount of research, and are actively engaged in projects of significant scope. The fellowship possesses some tortured origins—(John) Simon Guggenheim, who served as president of the American Smelting and Refining Company and Republican senator from Colorado, seeded the award (1925) following the death of this son John (1922) from mastoiditis (Guggenheim’s second son George later committed suicide, and more infamously his older brother Benjamin went down with the Titanic).
Among this year’s crop (we dare say more forward-leaning than previous years?) is a roster of standout “professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by publishing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts,” affiliated with the University of Chicago Press:
Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and author of three poetry collections, coeditor of . . .
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In the past few months, Bruce Smith’s Devotions has been nominated for the National Book Award (which went to Nikki Finney, for Head Off & Split), the National Book Critics Circle Award (which just last night went to Laura Kasischke, for Space, in Chains), and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (which will be announced on April 20). One of Smith’s previous collections The Other Lover (2000) was a finalist for both the National Book Award (taken home by Lucille Clifton’s Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988–2000) and the Pulitzer Prize (awarded to Stephen Dunn’s Different Hours). Reluctant to turn to idiom (“Always a. . . .”), let’s shift to the book in question:
“Write like a lover. Write like you’re leaving yourself for another.
Write like you’re de Beauvoir, object and subject. Write
like you must rescue yourself from yourself, become scrupulous
to the body and the rain that floods you with rage and the crude
sublimities: there was a lip print on the plastic glass wrapped
in the misty domestic interior of the room. Write like there’s evidence,
there’s tenderness, like Paris were the scene of a crime. A lipstick
by the bed, a phone number, a . . .
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