The SLA research award this year goes to Gaurav Desai of the English department. Gaurav has published two monographs and nine edited collections. One of these collections, An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism, has become a standard reference and classroom text. His latest monograph, Commerce with the Universe: Africa, India, and the Afrasian Imagination, recently won the Rene Wellek Prize for the best book in comparative literary studies by the American Comparative Literature Association. It was featured by the cross-disciplinary journal Foreign Affairs as the “book of the day” on April 30th 2014. The latest issue of Interventions dedicated a special review forum to Commerce with the Universe. Prof. Desai is now editing a special issue of Minnesota Review, to mark the 10th anniversary of Katrina.
The April Brayfield Teaching Award is given to Jana Lipman of the History Department. Since coming to Tulane, Prof. Lipman has developed 10 courses, ranging from the introductory to graduate level. Her teaching evaluations usually score in the 4.8 to 5 range, with students declaring her their favorite teacher and her courses incredible, even though she assigns a great deal of reading and writing. This year, she brought the “Guantanamo Public Memory Project” to campus engaging her students on locating primary sources and working with multiple other classes which interacted with the exhibit. In another course on US Immigration History, students in her service learning section served as advisors to Latino high school students. She also is an outstanding graduate teacher and mentor, chairing 2 dissertations and serving on 14 other graduate student committees since coming to Tulane.
The SLA service award goes to Sam Ramer of the History Department, and recognizes decades of service to Newcomb College, the School of Liberal Arts, and Tulane University. He has had extensive service to the History Department, serving as head of the Newcomb History Department in decades past, director of the history graduate studies and honors program, and chaired five search committees. For the school, he was the head of the undergraduate major in Russian studies for 15 years, chair of the arts & sciences curriculum committee, chair of the Mellon colloquium, and chair of the subcommittee on equity, welfare and sportsmanship for the self-study of Tulane’s athletic program. He is currently secretary of both the SLA faculty meetings and the University senate.
The SLA staff award is given to Claudia de Brito who is, without doubt the backbone of the Spanish & Portuguese Department. She has served in the role of executive secretary for the department for 14 years, coordinating the work of 15 tenure track faculty members, five lecturers, 28 graduate students, nineteen adjuncts, and nearly 100 majors. Her ability to multi-task is legendary. She seems able to type, answer the phones, respond to myriad questions from faculty members, and plan parties, all at the same time. Fluent is three languages, she is clearly the face, voice, and eyes of the department.
This year’s Young Mellon Fellow is Dale Shuger of the Spanish & Portuguese Department. Although having just completed her third year review, Prof. Shuger has a remarkable c.v. She has already published one book, Don Quixote in the Archives: Madness in Life and Literature in Early Modern Spain, as well as three peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter. She has another article awaiting publication in the prestigious Renaissance Quarterly. She has already started work on her second book project, “God Made Word: An Archaeology of Mystic Discourse in Early Modern Spain.” Her accomplishments in research are equaled by her dedication and success in the areas of teaching and service. She has several new, challenging, and popular courses such as “Witches, Sorcerers, and Prophets,” and “Reading the Illiterate: Popular Culture in Early Modern Spain.” In course evaluations, students often reward her with perfect 5’s and words like “fantastic” and “amazing." She has also given her time generously as an undergraduate faculty advisor, and, despite being a relatively new faculty member, has already assumed the directorship of the interdisciplinary Medieval and Early Modern Program. Dale truly embodies the spirit of a Young Mellon Fellow.