About the Lora Romero First Book Prize

The Lora Romero First Book Prize is awarded every year to the best first book published in American studies that highlights intersectional dynamics in the study of race, gender, class, sexuality, and/or nation. Recipients of the award receive a lifetime membership in the association. The prize winner in announced at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association.

The prize is a memorial tribute to Lora Romero, a long-active member of the ASA who died in 1997 as her first book, Home Fronts: Nineteenth Century Domesticity and Its Critics, appeared in print. She was an Assistant Professor at Stanford University, an esteemed colleague, and a treasured friend to many in the association.

Eligibility Requirements and Application Procedures

Who is eligible: Current ASA members who have published their first book between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. To be eligible, books must be written in English by a single author, though the book may be published outside of the U.S. First books are also eligible for the Franklin Prize and may be submitted in both competitions. 

Who can nominate: Authors can self-nominate. Publishers may also submit books for consideration. While publishers need not be active members, they must create an account online in order to submit a nomination.*

How to submit a nomination:

Step 1: Write a letter or statement for submission. Include: (1) the book’s full title, (2) the name of the press and the place of publication, (3) the official publication date, and (4) the author’s ASA membership number and a statement confirming that the author’s membership is current for the 2019 calendar year.

Step 2: Log onto the ASA website to submit the nomination. You will be asked to enter the nominee’s information (title, affiliation, address) before being prompted to upload a PDF of the letter or statement of submission with the required details outlined above. Nomination forms must be submitted no later than March 1.

Step 3: Mail one copy to each of the prize committee members. Electronic copies (if available) are welcomed via email. Submissions must be clearly marked “Romero Prize Entry” and postmarked no later than March 1, 2019. Late nominations will not be accepted.

  • Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Chair), Department of American Studies, Brown University, Box 1892, 71 George Street, Providence, RI 02912 (aliyyah_abdur-rahman@brown.edu)
  • Evren Savci, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University, P.O. Box 208319, 100 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06520-8319 (evren.savci@yale.edu)
  • Harrod J. Suarez, Department of English, Oberlin College, 10 N. Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074 (harrod.suarez@oberlin.edu)

When is the deadline: March 1

*A special note for presses: If you’re submitting multiple books for consideration, you must process each nomination separately via the online submission form. Books can be mailed together but still must be distributed to each committee member.

This Year's Winner (2018)

Sharon Luk, The Life of Paper: Letters and a Poetics of Living Beyond Captivity (University of California Press, 2017)

Past Winners 2002-2017

  • 2017: Sarah Haley, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity (University of North Carolina Press, 2016)
  • 2016: Simone Browne, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Duke University Press, 2015)
  • 2015: Audra Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Duke University Press, 2014)
  • 2014: Alexandra T. Vazquez, Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music (Duke University Press, 2013)
  • 2013: Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century (New York University Press, 2012)
  • 2012: Nicole Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
  • 2011: Cynthia M. Blair, I've Got to Make My Livin': Black Women's Sex Work in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2010)
  • 2010: Margot Canaday, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton University Press, 2009)
  • 2009: Alicia R. Schmidt Camacho, Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (New York University Press, 2008)
  • 2008: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (University of California Press, 2007)
  • 2007: Ned Blackhawk, Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Harvard University Press, 2006).
  • 2006: Tiya Miles, Ties That Bind: An Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and in Freedom (University of California Press, 2005)
  • 2005: Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton University Press, 2004)
  • 2004: Kandice Chuh, Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist Critique (Duke University Press, 2003)
  • 2003: Shelley Streeby, American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture (University of California Press, 2002)
  • 2002: Sharon Holland, Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity (Duke University Press, 2001)