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 . . .
Read more »
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 . . .
Read more »
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 . . .
Read more »
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 . . .
Read more »
The world lost one of its most noted lexicographers earlier this month with the passing of Rev. Frederick William Danker. A scholar of the New Testament and the Greek tragedians, a prolific author, a much-admired teacher, and perhaps the foremost expert on the early Christian use of the ancient Greek language, Danker died following complications from a fall.
His crowning achievement, the Third Edition of Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2000), for which he served as editor, totaled almost 1,100 pages and contained more than 5,500 ancient Greek words and 25,000 additional references to classical, Early Christian, and modern literature.
A graduate of Concordia Seminary and the University of Chicago, Danker (along with his older brother William) was among 45 faculty members fired from Concordia in 1974, for the “liberal” bent of their teachings. Following this, Danker cofounded Seminex, the Concordia Seminary in Exile, before later closing his academic career at the Luthern School of Theology, and committing to work (“12 years working 14-hour days”) on the Lexicon, and its later abbreviated version, the Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). Danker’s contributions included incorporating new archeological findings that shed new . . .
Read more »
Morris Philipson, former director of the University of Chicago Press (from 1967 to 2000), passed away on November 3, 2011, at the age of 85. We asked some of Philipson’s friends and colleagues how they would remember Morris, and their thoughts follow below:
I worked at Chicago for ten years, from 1973 to 1983, half that time directly for Morris. He was brilliant, exacting, mercurial, funny, and loyal to the authors and people at the Press who held up his high standards. Like many others who went on to run other publishing companies, he taught me through example (mostly good) how to be a publisher. More than that, he shaped the Press’s publishing program in ways that few directors attempt or manage. Those were glory years: The Lisle Letters, which more timid publishers would have abandoned; Derrida, whom he apparently understood; Mythologies; the Verdi Edition, which he supported even if his taste didn’t run to high opera. The Chicago Manual of Style, Kate Turabian, the list goes on. He was willing to support his editors even when he was skeptical, a philosophy that led to the grand and enduring success of A River Runs Through It. The letter that Norman . . .
Read more »