Scholars of Color First Book Award

We are excited to congratulate the first cohort of books receiving the new Scholars of Color First Book Award. The award supports innovative and important books authored by scholars of color, as indicated through the review process. This fund supports and exemplifies our commitment to publish works by rising stars and to celebrate books with exceptional promise by scholars of color who might otherwise not receive recognition and support from their institutions. On average, we publish 36 first books each year, many of which are written by scholars of color, and we select several per season for the award.

Duke University Press Director Dean Smith says, “The Scholars of Color First Book Award enables us to support innovative and emergent voices at the beginning of their careers and create open spaces for experimentation and risk-taking—and it further reinforces our commitment to the centering of marginalized perspectives from scholars at every stage in their careers.”

The Scholars of Color First Book award is made possible by Duke University Press authors who donate their book royalties to help support innovative work by junior scholars of color. Many reviewers have also donated their honoraria. As part of this award, the Press covers the costs of indexing. 

Editorial Director Gisela Fosado says, “Every first book we publish is usually tied to a happy tenure story.  Supporting first books by scholars of color is therefore essential to fundamental changes we need in higher education. It’s been heartening to see the wave of support for this initiative both by folks who have donated to the fund and also by the award recipients and our many dedicated book readers.” 

Like most scholarly book publishers, our books program is not self-supporting. You can now donate to the award, as well as to other Press funds, on our website.

Check out the inaugural award winners below. A few of them are out now and the rest will be published over the next few months.


We’d like to celebrate our many authors who have earned various awards and honors for their books since January 2021. Congratulations to all of them.

Ashon T. Crawley’s book The Lonely Letters has won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction and a Believer Magazine Book Award.

David L. Eng and Shinhee Han’s book Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation has won the Boyer Prize for Contributions to Psychoanalytic Anthropology from the Society for Psychological Anthropology SPA (AAA section).

Cait McKinney’s book Information Activism has won the Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize from the Canadian Communication Association.

Deborah A. Thomas’s book Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation has won the Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Book Prize from the Caribbean Studies Association.

Matt Brim’s book Poor Queer Studies has won the Jake Ryan and Charles Sackrey Award from the Working Class Studies Association.

At the Limits of the Cure by Bharat Jayram Venkat won the Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences from the American Institute of Indian Studies.

Johana Londoño’s book Abstract Barrios has won the LASA Latina/o Studies Section Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association, Latino/a Studies Section.

Lamonte Aidoo’s book Slavery Unseen has won the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

Shawn Michelle Smith’s book Photographic Returns has won the Ray and Pat Brown Award for Best Single Work by One or More Authors in Popular American Culture from the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association.

Cara New Daggett’s book The Birth of Energy has won the Yale H. Ferguson Award from the International Studies Association.

Kamari Maxine Clarke’s book Affective Justice has won the Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Bonnie Ruberg’s The Queer Games Avant-Garde has won a Stonewall Book Award/Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award from the Social Responsibility Roundtable of the American Literary Association.

Where Histories Reside, by Priya Jaikumar, has won the Monograph Award from the British Association of Film, Television, and Screen Studies.

Thea Riofrancos’s book Resource Radicals has won the Charles Taylor Book Award from the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods Conference Group of the American Political Science Association. Theft is Property! by Robert Nichols received Honorable Mention for the same award.

Michael J. Shapiro’s book Punctuations has won the Pamela Grande Jensen Award from the Politics, Literature, and Film Section of the American Political Science Association.

Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky’s book The Process Genre has won the Best First Book Award from the Society for Cinema & Media Studies.

Melody Jue’s book Wild Blue Media has won the Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science Book Award from the Science Fiction Research Association.

Kandice Chuh’s book The Difference Aesthetics Makes has won the History Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies.

Jian Neo Chen’s book Trans Exploits has won the Social Sciences Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies.

Aesthetics of Excess by Jillian Hernandez received Honorable Mention from the Popular Culture Association for the Emily Toth Award for Best Single Work in Women’s Studies.

You can purchase any of the above award-winning titles at a 30% discount on our website using coupon SAVE30. Congratulations again to our authors!

Congratulations to our 2020 CELJ award winners!

Congratulations to Zong-qi Cai, who won the Distinguished Editor Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) this year, and to Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, which won Best Digital Feature! The CELJ announced the awards this past Saturday at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention.

Zong-qi Cai was named Distinguished Editor for his work on the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture and Prism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature, both published by Duke University Press, as well as the Lingnan Journal of Chinese Studies.

“The global impact of Cai’s editorial work is signaled by his efforts to bridge the work of North American and Chinese sinologists. For example, he has consistently promoted and published English translations of key essays by Chinese scholars. Moreover, Cai is committed to publishing interdisciplinary work by early career and senior scholars that brings new theoretical perspectives to Chinese literature and culture. … In sum, Cai’s simultaneous work on three journals shows a deep commitment to editing,” the CELJ wrote.

Meridians was co-winner of the inaugural Best Digital Feature award for its “On the Line” component. The CELJ wrote, “The range of multimedia offered on the website—which complements the print journal—was commended for the ways in which it uses digital technology to give women of color a voice. ‘On the Line’ was cited as a particularly effective example of a print journal using digital features to complement journal content and grow audience engagement. The feature’s collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit was praised by judges, as was its commitment to reaching new readers with urgently pressing content.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! Learn more about the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture, Prism, and Meridians.

Congratulations to MacArthur Fellow Fred Moten

Black and BlurCongratulations to Fred Moten, who has won a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. Moten is the author of the consent not to be a single being trilogy, which includes Black and Blur, Stolen Life, and The Universal Machine. He is also the author of a book of poems, B Jenkins.

The MacArthur Fellows program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. Recipients receive a $625,000 stipend. Of Moten’s work, the MacArthur Foundation says, “In his theoretical and critical writing on visual culture, poetics, music, and performance, Moten seeks to move beyond normative categories of analysis, grounded in Western philosophical traditions, that do not account for the Black experience. He is developing a new mode of aesthetic inquiry wherein the conditions of being Black play a central role.”

Watch Moten speak about his work. 

This week, Fred Moten is also being awarded the 2020 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Honor of Newton Arvin for his book Black and Blur. The Capote Award is a $30,000 prize and is the largest award for literary criticism in English.

Ken Wissoker, Senior Executive Editor says, “I’m so moved. Fred Moten is my idea of what a genius is. His capaciousness of thought, the generative spirit of engagement.” The staff of Duke University Press send Fred a huge congratulations for these well-deserved honors.

All of Fred Moten’s books are 50% off during our Fall Sale (through November 23, 2020) using coupon code FALL2020.

Spring Awards

We’d like to celebrate our many authors who have earned various awards and honors for their books this spring. Congratulations!

Suzanne Preston Blier’s book Picasso’s Demoiselles has won the Robert Motherwell Book Award from the Dedalus Foundation and was also selected as a finalist for the PROSE Awards from the Association of American Publishers.

Nina Sun Eidsheim’s book The Race of Sound was selected as a finalist for the Big Other Book Award for Nonfiction from Big Other magazine.

Sasha Su-Ling Welland’s book Experimental Beijing has won the Joseph Levenson Book Prize (Post-1900) from the Association for Asian Studies (AAS).

Juno Salazar Parreñas’s book Decolonizing Extinction has received an honorable mention for the Harry J. Benda Prize from the Southeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (SEAC/AAS).

Renisa Mawani’s book Across Oceans of Law has won the AAAS History Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS).

The following books were selected as finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation: Beside You in Time by Elizabeth Freeman, Bloodflowers by W. Ian Bourland, Honeypot by E. Patrick Johnson, Queering Black Atlantic Religions by Roberto Strongman, and Trans Exploits by Jian Neo Chen.

Kathleen M. Millar’s book Reclaiming the Discarded was selected as a finalist for the SEA Book Prize from the Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA).

Matt Brim’s book Poor Queer Studies was selected as a finalist for the O.L. Davis, Jr. Outstanding Book Award from the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum.

Elspeth H. Brown’s book Work! was selected as a finalist for the Mary Jurich Nickliss Prize in US Women’s and/or Gender History from the Organization of American Historians (OAH).

Aren Z. Aizura’s book Mobile Subjects has won the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS).

Noémi Tousignant’s book Edges of Exposure has won the Ludwik Fleck Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

Sara Ann Wylie’s book Fractivism has won the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

Esther Gabara’s book Pop América, 1965–1975 has received an honorable mention for the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from the College Art Association (CAA).

We also congratulate our own Design Manager Amy Ruth Buchanan. She was honored by the Association of University Presses for her design of Susan Laxton’s book Surrealism at Play

Winter Awards

We’d like to celebrate our many authors who have garnered awards for their books this winter. Congratulations!

Zeb Tortorici’s book Sins against Nature has won the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award from The Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the Modern Language Association. This book also won the NECLAS Marysa Navarro Best Book Prize from the New England Council of Latin American Studies (NECLAS).

Sasha Su-Ling Welland’s book Experimental Beijing has won the Francis L K Hsu Prize from the Society for East Asian Anthropology (SEAA) Section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Licia Fiol-Matta’s book The Great Woman Singer has co-won the MLA Prize in US Latina/o and Chicana/o Literary and Cultural Studies from the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Leticia Alvarado’s book Abject Performances has received an honorable mention for the MLA Prize in US Latina/o and Chicana/o Literary and Cultural Studies from the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Christopher Taylor’s book Empire of Neglect has won the Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize from the American Studies Association (ASA).

Juno Salazar Parreñas’s book Decolonizing Extinction has received an honorable mention for the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) Section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Noenoe K. Silva’s book The Power of the Steel-tipped Pen has won the Ka Palapala Po’okela Award from the Hawaii Book Publishers Association.

Jason Borge’s book Tropical Riffs has won the Robert M. Stevenson Prize from the American Musicological Association (AMS).

Bianca C. Williams’s book The Pursuit of Happiness has won the Nelson Graburn Book Award from the Anthropology Tourism Interest Group of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Eliza Steinbock’s book Shimmering Images has won the SCMS Best First Book Award from the Society for Cinema & Media Studies (SCMS).

Esther Gabara’s book Pop América, 1965–1975 was selected as a finalist for The Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from the College Art Association (CAA).

Renisa Mawani’s book Across Oceans of Law was selected as a finalist for The Socio-Legal Theory and History Prize from the Socio-Legal Studies Association.

Rosalind Fredericks’s book Garbage Citizenship has won the Toyin Falola Africa Book Award from the Association of Third World Studies (ATWS).

2019 Foerster Prize Winner Announced

We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Norman Foerster Prize, awarded to the best essay of the year in American Literature: “Reconstructing Revenge: Race and Justice after the Civil War” by Gregory Laski, published in volume 91, issue 4. Read the essay, freely available through the end of March, here.

The prize committee had this to say about the winning essay:

“Gregory Laski presents an ambitious, thorough, and wide-ranging discussion of the vexed rhetoric of revenge and forgiveness in the postbellum South. His reading of diverse historical and legal documents concerned with vengeance demonstrates both the risks and utility of vengeance during this period; it also deftly sets up his persuasive reading of Pauline Hopkins’s understudied 1902 novel Winona. Laski dismantles the false distinction between justice and revenge through the notion of “righteous revenge” in paradigm-shifting ways. That this idea engages with larger ethical questions about the redress of (ongoing) wrongs perpetrated against African Americans is made explicit in the elegant coda.”

There were two runners-up for this year’s Foerster Prize: Sara Marcus’s “‘Time Enough, but None to Spare’: The Indispensable Temporalities of Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition” (volume 91, issue 1) and Julius B. Fleming Jr.’s “Transforming Geographies of Black Time: How the Free Southern Theater Used the Plantation for Civil Rights Activism” (volume 91, issue 3). Both essays are freely available through March. The committee had these comments to share about the two runners-up:

“Sara Marcus’s essay challenges the prevailing tendency to associate linear time with heteronormativity, capital, racism, and imperialism and—correspondingly—nonlinear time with queerness, resistance, refusal, and escape.  Although this association has been useful in some ways, Marcus argues that it sets up a simplistic binary. In an insightful reading of Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, Marcus shows that both normative and nonnormative temporalities are utilized by white supremacists to maintain and assert power. Conversely, teleological concepts for time can be embraced by black characters in the name of progress, while blackness can also interrupt the violence of racism by suspending time. Marcus strongly and convincingly makes the case that neither linear nor nonlinear temporalities are inherently oppressive or liberatory and therefore that scholars working on time abandon these cut-and-dried associations.

“Julius B. Fleming Jr. assembles a wide-ranging and unique archive to theorize what he terms ‘black patience,’ a concept whose contours, uses, and misuses he traces with meticulous care and bold insight. In the process, he advances a methodological approach to black patience (and to other useful notions, including time and timing more generally) that should deeply inform scholarship in African American culture, political organizing, and performance. This essay is a feat of original research, syncretic analysis, and inventive theorization.”

Congratulations to Gregory Laski, Sara Marcus, and Julius B. Fleming Jr.!

2019 Modern Language Association Highlights and Awards

This year’s meeting of the Modern Language Association was absolutely packed with awards, receptions, and events—and, like always, we had a wonderful time meeting authors, editors, and attendees and selling our books and journals.


Congratulations to Melanie Yergeau, whose book Authoring Autism won the MLA Prize for a First Book, and Fred Moten, whose book Black and Blur won the William Sanders Scarborough Prize!

Several of our journals and books also received awards from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) and from the GL/Q Caucus for the Modern Languages:

CELJ Awards

Archives of Asian Art, the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and American Literature each received a CELJ award this year—congratulations to these journals!

coverimageThis year’s Best Journal Design Award was given to Archives of Asian Art. Upon joining Duke University Press in 2017, the journal was redesigned by Sue Hall, our now-retired journals designer of 23 years. The 2018 Association of University Presses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show also recognized the journal’s redesign: “The new design stands out because of the luxurious and well-placed illustrations and because it combines an elegant, versatile page design with fine-grained typographic sophistication,” wrote eminent typographer Robert Bringhurst.

The CELJ also recognized two of our journal issues with the Best Special Issue Award: “Queer about Comics,” an issue of American Literature (volume 90, issue 2) edited by Darieck Scott and Ramzi Fawaz; and “The Bible and English Readers,” an issue of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (volume 47, issue 3) edited by Thomas Fulton.

GL/Q Caucus Celebration and Awards


Marcia Ochoa and Jennifer DeVere Brody with the 25th-anniversary issue of GLQ

This year, the GL/Q Caucus celebrated the 25th anniversary of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies with a panel on the journal and a reception. The caucus also awarded prizes to several outstanding books and journal articles:

The Crompton-Noll Award was given to Mary Zaborskis for the article “Sexual Orphanings,” published in GLQ (volume 22, issue 4), and Margaret Galvan for the article “‘The Lesbian Norman Rockwell’: Alison Bechdel and Queer Grassroots Networks,” published in American Literature (volume 90, issue 2).

The Alan Bray Book Award was granted to Jasbir Puar, author of The Right to Maim, and Ariane Cruz, author of The Color of Kink (NYU Press). Kadji Amin, author of Disturbing Attachments, received honorable mention, as did Tourmaline, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton, editors of Trap Door (New Museum and MIT Press).

Eric A. Stanley and Andrew Spieldenner received the Michael Lynch Award for Service, which, in Eve Sedgwick’s words, serves “to publicize and celebrate—and as widely as possible—the range, the forms, the energy, and the history of queer activism by academics.”

Other Highlights

We enjoyed celebrating several new journals with a wine reception Friday afternoon: Critical TimesEnglish Language Notes, Journal of Korean StudiesMeridiansPrism, and Qui Parle.

It was also wonderful to see several of our authors who stopped by the booth:

Thank you to all who came by to see us! For those of you who weren’t able to make it out to MLA, or who didn’t have enough room in your suitcase to pack all the books you wanted, don’t worry—you can still take advantage of the conference discount by using coupon code MLA19 at through the end of February.

American Anthropological Association, 2018


Excited booth staffers after setting up!

It was wonderful to meet excited customers, sell books and journals, and celebrate our award-winning authors and editors at this year’s American Anthropological Association meeting in San José! Thanks to everyone who came by our booth to browse our stock or say hello.

Our anthropology titles were honored with more awards this year than every before! We are so excited to congratulate the following authors:

Check out our photo gallery of authors and editors:


Missed the conference? Not able to fit all the books you wanted into your luggage? You can still save on anthropology paperbacks through the end of the year—just use coupon code AAA18 at

Congratulations to MacArthur Fellow Wu Tsang

Congratulations to filmmaker and performance artist Wu Tsang on winning a 2018 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Tsang is the co-author (with Fred Moten) of “Sudden Rise at a Given Tune,” the textual component of an eponymous performance by Tsang and Moten given at the Tate Modern, London on March 25, 2017. The text is featured in our journal South Atlantic Quarterly and is openly available for three months.

Tsang was the writer, director, and editor of—as well as a central character in—the 2012 feature film Wildness, which was reviewed in Transgender Studies Quarterly. Read the article here, where it is openly available for three months. She has also created a number of other films that have been exhibited or screened in many venues around the world.

The MacArthur Foundation praises Tsang for reimagining “racialized, gendered representations beyond the visible frame to encompass the multiple and shifting perspectives through which we experience the social realm.”

Watch a video of Tsang discussing her work: