Recent awards in Latin American Studies

Recent Book Awards in Latin American Studies

To celebrate the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) annual meeting in Vancouver this year, we are thrilled to feature our recent award-winning books in Latin American history, visual studies, anthropology, pre-Columbian archaeology, Caribbean studies, and more. Seven LASA section book awards—winners and honorable mentions—were recently announced by the Brazil, Mexico, Haiti/ Dominican Republic, and Visual Culture Studies sections of LASA. Join us in congratulating these scholars! Browse more award-winning books and all our books on Latin America by discipline.

Learn more about UT Press at LASA 2023 on our virtual exhibit page.

Conjured Bodies: Queer Racialization in Contemporary Latinidad

By Laura Grappo

  • 2023 Honorable Mention, Outstanding Book, Latinx Studies Section (LASA)
  • 2022 Honorable Mention, John Leo & Dana Heller Award for Best Single Work, Anthology, Multi-Authored, or Edited Book in LGBTQ Studies, Popular Culture Association (PCA)

“[Conjured Bodies] provides an accessible and significant exploration of the construct of race in the U.S. Grappo’s book provides an insightful and engaging discussion of the importance of understanding both the value and danger of malleability…Grappo’s book provides thought provoking and gripping arguments about the possible consequences, harms, and issues of conjured identities, images, and bodies that is well positioned in current explorations of intersectionality…a necessary read for any serious student and scholar of Latinidad.”

Ethnic and Racial Studies

Crossing Waters: Undocumented Migration in Hispanophone Caribbean and Latinx Literature & Art

By Marisel C. Moreno

2023 Honorable Mention, Isis Duarte Book Prize, Haiti/ Dominican Republic section (LASA)

“Moreno seamlessly accommodates the Caribbean’s unruly multiplicities—of national contexts, identities, and migration pathways—without sacrificing nuance and specificity…Her capacious framing allows Crossing Waters to proceed assuredly through the folds of successive Caribbean geopolitical contexts—from the erosion of birthright citizenship in the Dominican Republic to shifting U.S. policy toward Cuban refugees—while maintaining a remarkably coherent arc…Moreno’s framing of migration as a process that often lacks a defined end resonates with the ongoingness of border studies writ large and Caribbean border and migration studies in particular…Scholars of migration would do well to follow Moreno’s impulse to understand border studies as both an anchor and a current.”


Depositions: Roberto Burle Marx and Public Landscapes under Dictatorship

By Catherine Seavitt Nordenson

  • 2019 John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize, Foundation for Landscape Studies
  • 2021 On the Brinck Book Award, The UNM School of Architecture + Planning

Depositions offers an understanding of Burle Marx beyond his gardens and parks; it is a solid introduction to both his work and Brazil’s quest to establish its cultural identity.”

Architectural Record

Electrifying Mexico: Technology and the Transformation of a Modern City

By Diana J. Montaño

  • 2023 Honorable Mention, Best Book in the Humanities, Latin American Studies Association Mexico Section 
  • 2022 Alfred B. Thomas Book Award, Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies (SECOLAS)
  • 2022 Bolton-Johnson Prize, Conference on Latin American History (CLAH)
  • 2022 Best Book in Non-North American Urban History, Urban History Association (Co-winner)

“[Electrifying Mexico] shines as an in-depth exploration of the social and cultural dimensions of the introduction of electrification…indispensable to the literature on modern Mexico.”

Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Inventing Indigenism: Francisco Laso’s Image of Modern Peru

By Natalia Majluf

2023 ALAA Book Award, Association for Latin American Art/Arvey Foundation

“[An] engagingly written and meticulously researched book…Among the many high-quality illustrations, the dark symmetry of the ‘Inhabitant’ amply depicts the dignity of Indian suffering, while a ceramic figurine, cupped reverentially in his hands, references the ‘violent stifling’ of Inca society and the resultant sense of loss that Laso believed to be imprinted in Indian memory. That is one message of this book. Its other considerable achievement is to have begun the restoration of the nineteenth century to its rightful place in the cultural history of both Peru and Latin America.”

Times Literary Supplement

Playing with Things: Engaging the Moche Sex Pots

By Mary Weismantel

2022 Association for Latin American Art-Arvey Foundation Book Award

“What this book does very well is envision how these ceramic vessels were a part of people’s lives—their materiality and lively interaction with human bodies, as well as their social connections to the living and the dead that express notions of how life is generated, nurtured, and ensured…[Playing with Things provides] insights into how scholars can approach with fresh eyes subjects that we think we know.”

Latin American Antiquity

Rethinking the Inka: Community, Landscape, and Empire in the Southern Andes

Edited by Frances M. Hayashida, Andrés Troncoso and Diego Salazar

2023 Book Award, Society for American Archaeology

Rethinking the Inka is a fabulous book. Wide-ranging but well focussed, this volume presents…a roll call of the best, established, present-day researchers working on Qullasuyu archaeology; crucially, aside from Frances Hayashida, all the contributors are South American, lending that all-important regional perspective to the articles. Indeed, the editors should be commended on such a diverse and theoretically engaged group.”


Rethinking Zapotec Time: Cosmology, Ritual, and Resistance in Colonial Mexico

By David Tavárez

  • 2023 Best Subsequent Book, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA)
  • 2023 Honorable Mention, Best Book in the Social Sciences, Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Mexico Section
  • 2022 Marysa Navarro Best Book Prize, New England Council of Latin American Studies (NECLAS)

“This is a superb study of both the Indigenous secret republics of letters and their Indigenous rivals. It is also a brilliant analysis of Zapotec divinatory colonial practices.”

Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, University of Texas at Austin, author of How to Write the History of the New World: Histories, Epistemologies, and Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Riot and Rebellion in Mexico: The Making of a Race War Paradigm

By Ana Sabau

2023 Best Book in the Humanities, Latin American Studies Association Mexico Section

“A rigorous, thoughtful, and intellectually inspiring genealogy of how the idea of a “race war” was imputed to social conflicts in New Spain/Mexico during the long nineteenth century, as well as how one can discern a “rebel archive” of challenges to that paradigm from racialized social movements at each and every turn. There is no book quite like Riot and Rebellion in Mexico, and it will surely make a serious and sustained impact on many fields for years to come.”

David Kazanjian, author of The Brink of Freedom: Improvising Life in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World

Roots of Resistance: A Story of Gender, Race, and Labor on the North Coast of Honduras

By Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda

2021 Sara A. Whaley Prize of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA)

“This book, more than any other recent publication about Honduran history, not only deeply contextualises the social and political development of Honduras after the 2009 coup, it simultaneously offers deep historical perspective for characterising the outcome of the recent November 2021 general elections…[Roots of Resistance] is clearly written, and very readable for a range of audiences…This is a major and unique contribution to modern Honduran and Central American historiography.”

Bulletin of Latin American Research

Selling Black Brazil: Race, Nation, and Visual Culture in Salvador, Bahia

By Anadelia Romo

2023 Honorable Mention, Brazil Section Humanities Book Prize, Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

“[Selling Black Brazil] is a fundamental critique of the utilization of Blackness in Bahia…The book exposes how tourism, the arts, and elite politicians think about Blackness, and by extension how limited this mode of thinking is. Romo shows how elites can move to capture cultural policies and instrumentalize them according to their interests.”


Siblings of Soil: Dominicans and Haitians in the Age of Revolutions

By Charlton W. Yingling

2023 Honorable Mention, Isis Duarte Book Prize, Haiti/ Dominican Republic section (LASA)

“Yingling’s Siblings of Soil is a history of the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath that focuses on the militaristic, religious, and kinship ties between Haitians and the Spanish side of the island. Grounded in astonishing archival research that spans Europe, the Caribbean, the United States, and Australia, Siblings of Soil demonstrates how African descendants across Hispaniola collaborated across time to ultimately unify the island under Haiti in 1822. This contribution centers the whole island in the broader historical literature on the Age of Revolutions. It moreover is a poignant reminder of a bygone era of cooperation in the forging of an independent, anti-slavery, and anti-colonial Black state. The Isis Duarte Book Prize committee commends Siblings of Soil for its extraordinary research and timely innovation.”

Isis Duarte Prize Committee, Haiti/ Dominican Republic section of the Latin American Studies Association

Surviving Mexico: Resistance and Resilience among Journalists in the Twenty-first Century

By Celeste González de Bustamante and Jeannine E. Relly

  • 2021 Mott KTA Journalism and Mass Communication Research Award, Kappa Tau Alpha
  • 2022 Tankard Book Award, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)
  • 2022 Knudson Latin America Prize, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)

“A meticulously researched study…[Surviving Mexico] is made lively and moving by the many interviews with Mexican journalists and media owners who themselves tell the stories of the dangers and at times, the horrors, that working reporters routinely face in many parts of Mexico.”

ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America

Taking Form, Making Worlds: Cartonera Publishers in Latin America

By Lucy Bell, Alex Ungprateeb Flynn, Patrick O’Hare

2023 LASA Visual Culture Studies Section Book Prize, Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

“Imagine an academic library whose books, in an act of defiance, run riot, escaping their covers and spilling out their contents far and wide. Imagine all the cardboard, lying abandoned, having been emptied of the consumer goods it once contained. And imagine the joy of all the people who could never afford the goods or enter the academy, when they discover that by stitching fugitive words with salvaged cardboard, they could give new life to both. Welcome to cartonera! In this impeccably crafted study, Lucy Bell, Alex Ungprateeb Flynn, and Patrick O’Hare show how the collective practice of cartonera not only crosses the frontier between art and literature, but also has the potential to turn the stuffy world of letters upside down.”

Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen, author of Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description