Announcements Essay Prize

2022 CAALS Essay Prize Announcement

Please join us in congratulating this year’s CAALS Essay Prize winner Nancy Carranza for her piece, “The Violent Inheritance of Empire: Narrating and Navigating Contested Psychic and Physical Spaces in Peter Bacho’s Entrys“! 

The award committee, which is made up of CAALS board members, sent us the message below:

The committee felt that this is a sharp paper with solid argumentation and a nuanced theoretical engagement with postcolonial and critical militarism through clear and concise reasoning. We applaud how forcefully Carranza develops her argument about how the violence of disavowed histories related to US military violence in the Philippines intersects with U.S. settler colonialism. The deftness with which Carranza develops the literary, theoretical, and historical strands of her argument sets her work apart. Her work makes an important intervention in postcolonial, mixed-race studies, and critical militarism in investigating “the national psychic schism that result from the disavowed histories of colonial oppression and violence.” 

In addition, this year the committee also awarded an honorable mention to Annabelle Tseng for her submission “West of Where?”: Unmaking and (Re)mapping in C. Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills is Gold

The award committee sent us the message below:

Tseng’s essay is a fresh and exciting take on Gold Rush narratives through the lens of settler colonialism and indigenous studies. It brings Indigenous studies in conversation with Asian American Studies in raising questions of the complicity of Asian American settlers in the colonial violence against native peoples and the ongoing dispossession of their land. Asian American Studies can sometimes tend to be too enmeshed in nationalist frameworks around what Rachel Lee has argued as “railroads and internment.” However, Tseng’s theoretical argument about “remapping” has a lot of potential, offering an important perspective on how migration elides other violences experienced by Indigenous peoples. On the whole, Tseng’s work made us want to read C. Pam Zhang’s novel and the committee exhorts her to develop the piece further to make a significant contribution to Asian American Studies.

As a reminder, the CAALS Essay Prize, established in 2013, is an annual award for the best paper on Asian American literature written by a graduate (or undergraduate) student and presented at any ALA or CAALS-sponsored panel.

Thank you to all who submitted or nominated essays. And, thank you to the Essay Prize committee members for their work!