BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ricardo Ortiz of Georgetown University calls
Ramón Soto-Crespo's work "some of the best …being
done now in U.S. Latino literary criticism."
The Modern Language Association agrees.
In January, it will award Soto-Crespo, PhD, of Buffalo,
associate professor of American studies and director of
Latina/Latino Studies at the University at Buffalo, one of its
major distinctions: an honorable mention for the MLA's Eighth
Annual Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and
Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies.
This prize, which has only one winner and one honorable mention,
is one of 17 MLA awards to be presented Jan. 7 at the association's
annual convention in Los Angeles. It is given for an outstanding
scholarly study of Latina or Latino or Chicana or Chicano
literature or culture. The winner is Chrystal Parikh, PhD,
associate professor of English and social and cultural analysis at
New York University.
Soto-Crespo received the honorable mention for his book,
"Mainland Passage: The Cultural Anomaly of Puerto Rico" (University
of Minnesota Press), which the award committee called
"exceptionally, brazenly original in its argument that Puerto Rican
writers and painters from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
consistently articulated a framework of non-incorporation for the
"Soto-Crespo," the award citation read, "weaves together the
best of postcolonial, Latin American, and Latino studies cultural
theory to illustrate how the debate between nationhood or U.S.
statehood obfuscates the chilling critique offered by the political
reality of the status quo.
"Soto-Crespo demonstrates how popular Puerto Rican imagination
not only embraces its borderland status but offers a critique of
and an alternative to nationalism as an imaginary default for
discourses of political power, cultural belonging and
modernization. (He) delivers a nuanced yet bold reframing of the
Puerto Rican body politic as a cultural anomaly within American,
Latin American, and United States ethnic studies that offers
sustained critiques of masculinist and authoritarian
Soto-Crespo's essays have appeared in the journals American
Literary History, Modern Language Notes, Modern Fiction Studies,
Contemporary Literature, and Textual Practice. His areas of
interest include Latina/o and Caribbean literature, Continental
philosophy, psychoanalysis and queer studies.
His current book project, "Primitive Futures: The Biopolitics of
Sexual Practices in Latin/o American Writing," analyzes the
cultural links between population health management and sex in the
Members of the selection committee were the award-winning
cultural analyst Alicia Arrizón of the University of
California, Riverside; Chon Noriega, professor of critical studies
in the UCLA School of Theater, film and Television and the author
or editor of ten books on Latino media, performance and visual art,
and María Josefina Saldaña, PhD, associate professor
of social and cultural analysis in the NYU College of Arts and
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.