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Modern Language Association Honors UCR Professor

UC Riverside Professor Honored by the Modern Language Association

National Award recognizes excellence in Latino and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies

(December 3, 2007)

Professor Alicia Arrizón

Professor Alicia Arrizón

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- The Modern Language Association of America announced Monday, Dec. 3 that UC Riverside Professor Alicia Arrizón will share the fifth annual MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies for her book, "Queering Mestizaje: Transculturation and Performance," published by the University of Michigan Press. The prize is awarded for an outstanding scholarly study of Latina or Latino or Chicana or Chicano literature or culture.

She shares the prize with Ramón Saldívar, professor at Stanford University, and author of "The Borderlands of Culture: Américo Paredes and the Transnational Imaginary," published by Duke University Press. Arrizón and Saldívar will each receive a prize of $500.

The MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies is one of eighteen awards that will be presented on Dec. 28 during the association’s annual convention, held this year in Chicago. The members of the selection committee were Mary Pat Brady of Cornell University; Daniel Torres of Ohio University; and Silvio Torres-Saillant of Syracuse University.

The committee’s citation for Arrizón’s book reads:

Alicia Arrizón’s ground-breaking book deals with issues of mestizaje and queer studies in a powerful new manner. Covering Latino studies in its relations to Filipino culture as well as the continental United States Latino/a experience, this book opens many new avenues of research. It challenges the assumed boundaries of Latinidad, reimagines and reinvigorates the concepts of queer and mestizaje, and provides an abundance of provocative, thoughtful, and eloquent readings. Arrizón incorporates an impressive range of literary and cultural texts as well as historical research and theoretical insight. Drawing brilliantly from several disciplines, Arrizón suggests the centrality of sexuality, gender, and race to the understanding of Latinidad. And given its wide-ranging attention in both geographic and linguistic terms, it is indeed a crucial and inspiring model for a new trans-American studies.

Alicia Arrizón is professor and chair of the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University in 1992. Her academic interests relate to contemporary cultural and performance studies, with a strong commitment to the examination of race and ethnicity and their interchange with gender and sexuality studies. Interdisciplinary concerns link her to the fields of performance and visual arts, literature, and critical race theory. She is the author of "Latina Performance" (designated an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries) and coauthor of "Latinas on Stage." Her articles have appeared in journals such as the Drama Review: The Journal of Performance Studies, Ollantay: Theatre Magazine, Theatre Journal, and Theatre Research International.

The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest American learned societies in the humanities (est. 1883), promotes the advancement of literary and linguistic studies. The 30,000 members of the association come from all fifty states and the District of Columbia, as well as from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. PMLA, the association’s flagship journal of literary scholarship, has published distinguished scholarly articles for over one hundred years. Approximately 9,500 members of the MLA and its allied and affiliate organizations attend the association’s annual convention each December. The MLA is a constituent of the American Council of Learned Societies and the International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures.
Cover from Arrizon's book

Cover from Arrizon's book "Queering Mestizaje: Transculturation and Performance," published by the University of Michigan Press.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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