NWSA/ University of Illinois First Book Prize Winners

NWSA and the University of Illinois Press are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 First Book Prize! 

Wen Liu, State University of New York at Albany

Assembling Asian America: Psychological Technologies and Queer Subjectivities

Wen Liu’s Assembling Asian America: Psychological Technologies and Queer Subjectivities is an insightful, thought-provoking, and well-written book-in-progress. The book manuscript grows out of Liu’s dissertation, “Cruising Borders, Unsettling Identities: Toward A Queer Diasporic Asian America.” Assembling Asian America is at once interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary. Although social psychology becomes an anchoring for analysis, Liu carefully brings together multiple methods, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual paradigms to provide a refreshingly original examination of contemporary Asian American-ness. This book manuscript provides a multipronged analysis of political agency as well as of “Asian American” as a distinct cultural and cognitive population.

Nishant Upadhyay, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Indians on Indian Lands: Intersections of Race, Caste, and Indigeneity

Nishant Upadhyay’s Indians on Indian Lands: Intersections of Race, Caste, and Indigeneity, is a powerful proposal for a book that grows out of the author’s 2016 dissertation, “We’ll Sail Like Columbus”: Race, Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and the Making of South Asian Diasporas in Canada. Upadhyay’s ground-breaking analysis of South Asian diaspora powerfully challenges the hegemonic focus on dominant caste experiences of racial victimization to the exclusion of South Asian diasporic complicity in reproducing settler colonialism, anti-Blackness and casteism. It is a remarkable instance of how feminist scholarship advances non- disciplinary thought and practice by holding anti-settler colonialism, anti-Blackness and anti-caste analytics together, whilst making a contribution to post/colonial studies, transnational feminism and South Asian diaspora studies.

NWSA will be recognizing all award recipients at the 2018 Conference Awards Toast to be held Friday, November 9 from 6:00 – 6:30pm in Salon East, Hilton Atlanta, 2nd floor.

Thank you to the prize committee: 

Richa Nagar (Chair), Muddying the Waters: Coauthoring Feminisms across Scholarship and Activism

Ruth Nicole Brown, Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood

Dia da Costa, Politicizing Creative Economy: Activism and a Hunger Called Theater

Treva Lindsey, Colored No More: Reinventing Black Womanhood in Washington D.C.


Past winners of the prize include:

2017 Award: Nicosia M. Shakes, Gender, Race and Performance Space: Women’s Activism in Jamaican and South African Theatre

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Verklan, “Objects of Desire: Feminist Inquiry, Transnational Feminism, and Global Fashion”

2016 Award: Michele Eggers, Embodying Inequality: The Criminalization of Women for Abortion in Chile

2015 Award: Erin. L Durban-Albrecht, Postcolonial Homophobia: United States Imperialism in Haiti and the Transnational Circulation of Antigay Sexual Politics

2014 Award: Ethel Tungohan, Migrant Care Worker Activism in Canada: From the Politics of Everyday Resistance to the Politics from Below

2013 Award: Christina Holmes, Chicana Environmentalisms: Decolonizing the Body, Nature, and Spirit

2012 Award: Sophie Richter-Devroe, How Women do Politics: Peacebuilding, Resistance and Survival in Palestine

2011 Award: Erica Williams, Ambiguous Entanglements: Sex, Race, and Tourism in Bahia


Please direct all questions and submissions to:

Dawn Durante, Senior Acquisitions Editor

University of Illinois Press

1325 South Oak St.

Champaign, IL 61820-6903


For more information please see the NWSA website.

About Heather Gernenz

University of Illinois Press Publicity Manager