We are delighted to announce that Greta LaFleur’s coedited special issue of American Quarterly, “The Origins of Biopolitics,” has won the 2020 Council of Editors of Learned Journals Award in the “Best Special Issue” category.
The award was announced at the MLA annual meeting on January 9, 2021. Here is the judges’ citation for the award:
“Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas” is likely to be of broad interest to academics working in a variety of fields and time periods. Focused on the early Americas, it addresses race, gender, and science in the context of humanities scholarship. The essays go beyond typical scholarship on the early Americas, including research that addresses the experiences of Native Americans, Blacks, and Asians. The special issue builds on important theoretical contributions by Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Achille Mbembe. The editors and authors examine “differential valuations of life” in the early Americas, topics with particular resonance today. Another unique and important contribution of this special issue is that it posits a biopolitics from below and one situated in the early Americas, speaking from the margins instead of the center, and positing the emergence of these important ideas in an earlier era. By translating this body of theory from Europe to the colonies, the editors and authors shift previous theoretical engagement from nation to the larger geopolitical sphere. The special issue concludes with a Forum of shorter, experimental, more speculative pieces, including short essays that address archival issues. The committee was impressed by the theoretical sophistication of this issue, the importance of the contributions to the study of US history, and their potential to significantly shift discussion of biopolitics beyond the field of the early Americas. In conclusion, we found this issue of American Quarterly to be exceptional, setting the highest standards for scholarly excellence in its timely focus on biopolitics in the Americas, a topic of broad academic interest due to its relevance today.
We are happy that this important work is getting scholarly and professional recognition and thank the groundbreaking vision and tireless work of Greta LaFleur and Kyla Schuller in putting together this important collection.