March 4, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 11

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    Journal wins Best Single Issue from American Association of Publishers

    By Theresa Carson
    News Office

    The University’s 1998 winter issue of Critical Inquiry recently won the Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division Award for Best Single Issue of a Journal from the Association of American Publishers.

    Guest edited by Lauren Berlant, Professor in English Language & Literature and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, the issue focused on the topic of intimacy.

    “As an editor, I feel incredibly proud of the work the writers did to push the limits of the intimacy concept beyond its ordinary institutions––friendship, the couple and the family,” Berlant said. Describing the intimate connections within the nation, the workplace and everyday public practices, the authors challenged conventional notions of intimacy and by doing so transformed its meaning, she said. For example, they told stories about people whose lives did not follow the traditional path of marriage and child rearing as well as stories about the history of sexuality in national politics in the United States, Australia and Germany.

    “I’m very interested in how people become attached to their identities,” Berlant said. While thinking of social conventions, Berlant said she was attempting to “develop more and richer stories about attachment that work against the thought that intimacy is merely a private affair.”

    Other University faculty members who contributed to the journal are Candace Vogler, Assistant Professor in Philosophy; Joel Snyder, Professor and Chair of Art History; Laura Letinsky, Assistant Professor on the Committee for Visual Arts; and Elizabeth Povinelli, Associate Professor in Anthropology.

    W.J.T. Mitchell, the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor in English Language & Literature, is editor of Critical Inquiry and Arnold Davidson, Professor in Philosophy, is executive editor.

    The award, which was presented to Critical Inquiry by former congresswoman and Association of American Publishers president and chief executive officer, Pat Schroeder, marked the contest’s 23rd year. To evaluate entries, the association enlists a panel of six independent judges that includes former publishing executives, booksellers, librarians and past award recipients.

    Barbara Meredith, vice president of the Association of American Publishers Professional & Scholarly Publishing Division, said these awards are significant because they help promote and sell books as well as attract talented authors. “Contests for scholarly publishing are not frequent. In fact, this award is not only prestigious, but it is also one of the only games in town,” Meredith said. “It has grown in excellence and tradition every year.”

    The Association of American Publishers is the principal trade organization of the U.S. book-publishing industry and has more than 200 members throughout the country.

    The award-winning issue will be published in book form this winter.