Faculty Research: Janet Davis wins Constance Rourke Prize for Best Essay in American Quarterly

Philippine cockfight 1900-02.JPG

Philippine cockfight 1900-02” by US military personnel. – Downloaded from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?id=S-SCLPHILIMG-X-37%5DPHLK142.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

We’re so thrilled to share with y’all the news that Dr. Janet Davis has won the Constance Rourke Prize for the best essay in American Quarterly in 2013 for her piece entitled “Cockfight Nationalism: Bloodsport and the Moral Politics of American Empire and Nation Building.”

Here’s the abstract of her article, which can be found in full here (login necessary):

This essay explores the symbiotic relationship between animal welfare and ideologies of nation building and exceptionalism during a series of struggles over cockfighting in the new US Empire in the early twentieth century. Born out of the shared experience of American overseas expansionism, these clashes erupted in the American Occupied Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, where the battle lines pitting American-sponsored animal protectionists against indigenous cockfight enthusiasts were drawn along competing charges of cruelty and claims of self-determination. I argue that battles over the cockfight were a form of animal nationalism—that is to say, cockfight nationalism. Cockfight enthusiasts and opponents alike mapped gendered, raced, and classed ideologies of nation and sovereignty onto the bodies of fighting cocks to stake their divergent political and cultural claims regarding the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, moral uplift, benevolence, and national belonging.

Congratulations, Janet!

Announcement: Dr. Nicole Guidotti-Hernández Wins MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies

We have the most incredible news to share today! Our very own Dr. Nicole Guidotti-Hernández has been awarded the prestigious Modern Language Association Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies for her book Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries (Duke University Press, 2011). Dr. Guidotti-Hernández is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies here at UT Austin.

nicole

Unspeakable Violence addresses the epistemic and physical violence inflicted on racialized and gendered subjects in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Arguing that this violence was fundamental to U.S., Mexican, and Chicana/o nationalisms, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández examines the lynching of a Mexican woman in California in 1851, the Camp Grant Indian Massacre of 1871, the racism evident in the work of the anthropologist Jovita González, and the attempted genocide, between 1876 and 1907, of the Yaqui Indians in the Arizona–Sonora borderlands. Guidotti-Hernández shows that these events have been told and retold in ways that have produced particular versions of nationhood and effaced other issues. Scrutinizing stories of victimization and resistance, and celebratory narratives of mestizaje and hybridity in Chicana/o, Latina/o, and borderlands studies, she contends that by not acknowledging the racialized violence perpetrated by Mexicans, Chicanas/os, and indigenous peoples, as well as Anglos, narratives of mestizaje and resistance inadvertently privilege certain brown bodies over others. Unspeakable Violence calls for a new, transnational feminist approach to violence, gender, sexuality, race, and citizenship in the borderlands.

Way to go, Dr. Guidotti-Hernández!

Faculty and Grad Research: Dr. Janet Davis and Jeannette Vaught in American Quarterly

The Tower Aglow - University of Texas at Austin
Those subscribing to American Quarterly will notice that two members of our community, Dr. Janet Davis and Jeannette Vaught, have both published articles in the September 2013 issue. The special issue, Species/Race/Sex, considers the “interdisciplinary and political challenges to thinking intersectionally about species, race, and sex.”

A quick abstract of Janet’s piece, entitled “Cockfight Nationalism: Blood Sport and the Moral Politics of American Empire and Nation Building”:

This essay explores the symbiotic relationship between animal welfare and ideologies of nation building and exceptionalism during a series of struggles over cockfighting in the new US Empire in the early twentieth century. Born out of the shared experience of American overseas expansionism, these clashes erupted in the American Occupied Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, where the battle lines pitting American-sponsored animal protectionists against indigenous cockfight enthusiasts were drawn along competing charges of cruelty and claims of self-determination. I argue that battles over the cockfight were a form of animal nationalism—that is to say, cockfight nationalism. Cockfight enthusiasts and opponents alike mapped gendered, raced, and classed ideologies of nation and sovereignty onto the bodies of fighting cocks to stake their divergent political and cultural claims regarding the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, moral uplift, benevolence, and national belonging.

And a quick abstract of Jeannette’s, entitled “Materia Medica: Technology, Vaccination, and Antivivisection in Jazz Age Philadelphia”:

During the 1920s, the Philadelphia-based American Antivivisection Society turned to racialized metaphors in its circulating periodical, the Starry Cross, to excoriate the expanding practice of vaccination. Since vaccines were then made from animal-derived serums, the involvement of antivivisectionists in antivaccine arguments is not surprising. However, the Philadelphia society’s strange combination of vaccination, jazz, and vivisection reveals that its motivations to protect animals were deeply bound to broader cultural anxieties about the threat to purity posed by science, race, and sex, and that the stakes of succumbing to vaccination amounted to no less than medical miscegenation. By turning to racialized, speciesist arguments in asking for mercy toward animals against scientifically minded torture, the antivivisectionists’ use of the sound and image of the tortured animal was meant more to protect the human body and keep it white.

Enormous congratulations to both of them! We’ve linked to their pieces above; go forth and take a look.