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University Relations

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August 26, 2005
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-4798 or

Hall Center for the Humanities announces book prize winners, lecture

LAWRENCE -- Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history, and Jill Kuhnheim, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, are the winners of the 2005 Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize, awarded by the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas.

Earle won the award for his book, Jacksonian Antislavery and the Politics of Free Soil, 1824-1854, published by the University of North Carolina Press, and Kuhnheim for her book, Textual Disruptions: Spanish American Poetry at the End of the Twentieth Century, published by the University of Texas Press.

Earle and Kuhnheim will speak about their respective works at the Byron Caldwell Smith Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Spencer Museum of Art. The event is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow.

The Prize Committee's citations read as follows:

Textual Disruptions: Spanish American Poetry at the End of the Twentieth Century is an engagingly written book of unusually broad scope. An example of cultural studies at its finest, Jill Kuhnheim relates recent poetry to a wide range of developments in Latin American society: the aspirations of indigenous peoples, photography and the visual arts, life in cities, the sensual style of the neobaroque, and electronic technologies such as the Internet and contemporary cinema. Her thorough research and vivid writing bring these diverse areas of Spanish-speaking Latin America into new focus by probing their relationship to the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Ernesto Cardenal, Raul Zurita, Luis Camnitzer, Carmen Berenguer, Coral Bracho and many others.

Jacksonian Antislavery is a signal contribution to our understanding of the complexity and moral ambiguity of the antislavery movement between 1824 and 1854. Jonathan Earle's far-reaching review of politics in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as on the national level, reveals opposition to slavery in an important wing of the Democratic Party consisting of advocates of Free Soil who shared Jacksonian antipathies to monopoly and aristocracy. The book is deeply researched, clearly written, and most original in its ideas, techniques, and cast of characters.

The Byron Caldwell Smith Award was established at the bequest of Kate Stephens, a former KU student and one of KU's first women professors. As an undergraduate, Stephens learned to love the study of Greek language and literature from Professor Byron Caldwell Smith. In his name, she established this award, given biennially to an individual who lives or is employed in Kansas, and who has written an outstanding book published in the previous two years.


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