2017 CALACS Book Prize Winner awarded to Dr. Katherine A. Zien

It is our pleasure to announce the 2017 CALACS Book Prize winner:

Sovereign Acts: Performing Race, Space, and Belonging in Panama and the Canal Zone by Dr. Katherine A. Zien.

This is a new book prize in its first year. Our goal when we created it was to provide recognition to the most outstanding book published in 2017 by a scholar who is a member of CALACS and who is conducting research on Latin America or the Caribbean.

The book prize was adjudicated by a three-person jury, Daniel Tubb, Assistant Professor in Anthropology at UNB Fredericton; Alejandra Bronfman, Professor in History at SUNY Albany; and Pablo Heidrich, Assistant Professor in Global and International Studies at Carleton University.

They received eleven books for this year’s competition, all of which were compelling new books about Latin American or the Caribbean. All the entrants attests to the vibrancy of a community of scholars working on Latin America and the Caribbean, which CALACS brings together. While it was exceedingly difficult to narrow the prize down to one winner, the jury developed a short list of three books, before finally settling on this winner.

Dr. Zien is an Assistant Professor in English at McGill University, and Sovereign Acts is published by Rutgers University Press.

The Prize Committee found Sovereign Acts to be the most compelling entrant because it presents an original and strong narrative, with a convincing argument that contributes to understanding the Canal Zone, the performance of sovereignty, and the constructions of race, space, and belonging in Panama in the early part of the twentieth century.

In addition, Dr. Zien expands our understanding of state formation and US empire, through rich historical work on performance, theatre, artists, activists, and others in Panama’s Canal Zone. This innovative methodology, which dwells on performances, parades, concerts, and other public events, allows Dr. Zien to explore a canal zone, while offering a provocative interpretation of how sovereignty and citizenship emerged.

Dr. Zien’s work is deeply engaging book, with clear and cogent prose, which makes for accessible reading. The book is full of rich and detailed insight, and we encourage you to buy, read, and assign this worthy winner of the 2017 CALACS book prize.