Our own Billy Acree, assistant professor of Spanish, is this year’s recipient of this year’s Southern Cone Studies Section 2013 Humanities Book Award of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). Prof. Acree’s book, which brought him the prize, was published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2011. The book addresses the impact of the arrival of the printing press in what is present-day Uruguay and Argentina, particularly as it facilitated literacy and fostered a wide-ranging reading culture during this period. Prof. Acree explores the use of print during war, follows gauchos who merged cattle culture with forms of writing, and traces the cultural revolution brought about by the establishment of Latin America’s most successful public primary school systems at the turn of the twentieth century. Among the cultural artifacts he studies are independence-era newspapers, improvisational poetry, textbooks on hygiene, student notebooks, postcards, stamps, and more.
LASA is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions studying Latin America. It boasts over over 7,000 members from a wide variety of disciplines. Click here for more about Everyday Reading on LASA's website.
Prof. Acree is currently at work on another book project, this time on the emergence of the Creole circus in the Rio de la Plata region in the late nineteenth century. His research will be fostered during the coming academic year by a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.