MLA prize revisited

This year’s Modern Language Association prizes will be awarded today. Like a pageant winner, I should be allowed a return to the stage a year later….

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JOHN CULBERT NAMED WINNER OF MLA’S SCAGLIONE PRIZE FOR FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES FOR PARALYSES: LITERATURE, TRAVEL, AND ETHNOGRAPHY IN FRENCH MODERNITY

New York, NY – 5 December 2011 – The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its nineteenth annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies to John Culbert, of the University of British Columbia, for his book Paralyses: Literature, Travel, and Ethnography in French Modernity, published by the University of Nebraska Press. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in its field—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography—written by a member of the association. The Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies is one of eighteen awards that will be presented on 7 January, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Seattle. The members of the selection committee were Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi (Stanford Univ.); Peter T. Starr (Univ. of Southern California), chair; and Andrea Tarnowski (Dartmouth Coll.). The committee’s citation for Culbert’s book reads:

At the heart of a modernity that we typically associate with travel and speed, John Culbert’s brilliant study Paralyses: Literature, Travel, and Ethnography in French Modernity finds an essential paralysis—a motionless crux or time of hesitation that inhabits travel and constitutes its ineluctable other. Through careful, consistently insightful readings of Jean Paulhan, Michel Leiris, Claude Lévi- Strauss, Roland Barthes, Rachid Boudjedra, and others, Culbert astutely demonstrates how paralysis inflects a wide range of modern and postmodern experiences, from the philosopher’s joust with aporia to the specific plight of the sans-papiers. Readers of Paralyses will find their understanding of modernity— specifically French modernity—altered as a result of Culbert’s perceptive and persuasive arguments.

John Culbert is currently affiliated with the University of British Columbia, where he is a lecturer in the Department of French, Italian, and Hispanic Studies. He received his MA from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He has previously been affiliated with the University of California, Irvine; the State University of New York, New Paltz; Scripps College; and Williams College. His articles and chapters have appeared in journals such as October, Mediterranean Review, Formules, Postmodern Culture, and Western Humanities Review. – The Modern Language Association

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With MLA president Michael Bérubé, January 2012

Prize announcement link

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