Awards and honors

Elizabeth Todd Breland
Elizabeth Todd-Breland. Photo: Jenny Fontaine


Elizabeth Todd-Breland, UIC assistant professor of history, has been named the recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s 2019 Outstanding Book Award in recognition of her book “A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago Since the 1960s.” The honor, which recognizes the year’s best book-length publication in education research and development, was presented April 7 during an awards ceremony at the association’s annual meeting in Toronto.

Todd-Breland is also the latest recipient of the African American Intellectual History Society’s (AAIHS) Pauli Murray Book Prize, which recognizes the best book concerning black intellectual history published in 2018 by a member of the society. The honor was announced during the 2019 AAIHS Conference held at the University of Michigan last month.

Sylvia Vatuk

Sylvia Vatuk, professor emerita of anthropology, has been named the recipient of the Association of Asian Studies’ 2019 award for distinguished contributions to Asian studies. 

The commendation, which recognizes outstanding scholarship and service to the field, is considered the group’s highest honor.

In a citation, the association credits Vatuk for pioneering “the study of urban anthropology, kinship, marriage, and old age in India, as well as the nexus between religion and law–always with an emphasis on understanding the lives of women.”

Vatuk, who retired from UIC in 2002, was presented with the award last month during an awards ceremony at the association’s 70th annual meeting in Denver.

Founded in 1941, the Association for Asian Studies has approximately 7,000 members worldwide representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all academic disciplines, and is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Anna Guevarra, associate professor and director of Global Asian studies, has been named the recipient of the 2018 William J. Holland Prize from the journal Pacific Affairs

The annual honor recognizes an outstanding article published in the journal during the preceding year that promotes “international understanding of the regions and peoples of Asia and the Pacific through original empirical research combined with precise and perceptive argumentation.”

Guevarra’s article, “Mediations of Care: Brokering Labour in the Age of Robotics,” explores themes of human-technology interface, labor, migration and barriers to transnational movement, and it was described as “a truly innovative and exciting piece that redefines the infrastructure of migration and care.”

The article by Guevarra, who studies immigrant and transnational labor, the geopolitics of care work, and critical diaspora studies, was published in Vol. 91, No. 4 of Pacific Affairs and is available online.

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs will honor Guevarra for outstanding commitment in education based on her “many years of hard work in the field of education and educational research in the state of Illinois,” as well as her “contributions as a mentor to students to UIC.” She will be recognized May 15 during the treasurer office’s annual event to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Guevarra was nominated by UIC alumna Ada Tong.

Daniel Borzutzky, UIC assistant professor of English and Latin American and Latino studies, has been named to the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize’s international shortlist for his collection, Lake Michigan. Featuring a series of 19 lyric poems that explore themes of economic policy, racism, and militarized policing, Borzutzky “imagines a prison camp located on the beaches of a Chicago that is privatized, racially segregated, and overrun by a brutal police force.”

The finalists will each be awarded $10,000 for their participation in a June 5 shortlist reading event. Two winners, one from the international shortlist and one from the Canadian shortlist, will each be awarded $65,000 and announced June 6 at the Griffin Poetry Prize Awards in Toronto. 

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