2019 CALACS Book Prize Awarded

The CALACS Best Book Prize is awarded to the most outstanding book published in 2018 by a member of CALACS who researches Latin America and the Caribbean.

The prize was adjudicated by a three person jury consisting of: Katherine Zien, Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies, McGill University; Kevin Coleman, Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto; and Hepzibah Muñoz-Martínez, Associate Professor of  History and Politics, University of New Brunswick.

This year, the second year of its existence, the CALACS Book Prize Committee received seven books, all of which were exciting studies on topics ranging from medical history to human rights and politics. The high quality of the submissions necessitated lengthy deliberation by the Committee.

The winner of the 2019 CALACS Book Prize is Laurent Corbeil, for his book The Motions Beneath: Indigenous Migrants on the Urban Frontier of New Spain.  In this work, Corbeil carried out meticulous archival research to present the micro-interactions of Indigenous migrants who traveled to the mines of San Luís Potosí. While these migrants were motivated by economic needs, Corbeil notes that they interacted in ways – both within and beyond their own communities – that profoundly shaped the city. Corbeil makes creative use of legal records to unearth histories of mobility and the interactions between members of different indigenous communities that otherwise do not appear in the historical record. Moreover, the book is written lucidly and provides expansive contextualization of colonial Potosí. The Committee congratulates Dr. Corbeil on this fantastic achievement.

The Committee also chose a Runner-Up, Dr. Luz María Hernández Sáenz’s book Carving a Niche: The Medical Profession in Mexico, 1800-1870. This book comprehensively tracks the ways that Mexico’s medical profession changed with the transition from colonial status to independence. Dr. Hernández Sáenz not only conducts elaborate archival research from a variety of sources but also illuminates the frameworks of transformation and new relationships – among physicians and surgeons, for example – for a multidisciplinary readership.