ASAP promotes the best scholarship concerning the literary, visual, performing, and media arts, and we are committed to promoting the work done by members of the association.

To this end, the association sponsors scholarly prizes for the best book published each year and the best graduate student paper delivered at the association’s conference.

ASAP’s Book Prize is awarded annually for the book that makes the most significant contribution to the study of the arts of the present. Books are considered without regard to specific political point of view, aesthetic position, country of origin, publisher, or topic: any book that discusses the contemporary arts may be considered for the prize. The prize is given for a book published in the year prior to the submission deadline. The committee consists of 2-3 members of the association as appointed by the Motherboard. The winner will be announced at the annual meeting of the association and will receive a prize of $500.

  • The award is for scholarly rather than creative production (creative writing, original artwork, etc.), though we understand that the boundaries between these can be malleable.

  • Jointly authored monographs will be considered, but textbooks, anthologies, and collections by multiple authors, including bound editions of special issues of journals, are not eligible.

  • Critical media scholarship may be submitted in its publisher’s distribution format.

  • Self-published work is not eligible for the award. All submissions must be reputably refereed publications.

  • Books must be in English.

  • Publisher, third party, and self-nominations are encouraged. There are no limits on the number of books that one publisher can submit.

  • Authors must be members of ASAP at the time of submission.

  • Authors are encouraged to request their publishers to send 3 copies of their books to the prize committee for consideration. Campus addresses are updated with each year’s call for nominations.

All graduate students who attended the previous year’s association conference are invited to compete for the Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize. Papers are judged without regard to specific political point of view, aesthetic position, or topic: any graduate student who presented at the previous ASAP conference may be considered. The winner will be announced at the annual meeting of the association and will receive a copy of the ASAP Book Prize winner, a waiver for the conference luncheon, and a $100 cash award.

  • Only current ASAP members in good standing can submit work for consideration for the graduate student paper award.

  • Papers considered for the prize must have been presented at the previous year’s ASAP conference.

  • Papers may be self-nominated or nominated by members of the association who attended the conference at which the paper was presented.

  • The paper must be the paper presented at the conference. It should not be in any way revised or edited for consideration by the prize committee.

  • Longer papers submitted to seminars are eligible, but submissions longer than 12 double-spaced pages (works cited excluded) will not be accepted.

  • Papers must be submitted electronically to the chair of the prize committee by the deadline.

Prize Deadlines

Deadline for books published in the calendar year 2018 has passed. Please check this space in spring 2020 for information about next year’s competition.

ASAP10 Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize

Hayley O’Malley, Ph.D. candidate, English, University of Michigan

O’Malley’s paper, “Filming Everyday Freedom: The Black Feminist Praxis of Kathleen Collins’s Filmography,” focuses on the 1982 film, Losing Ground, which was written and directed by Kathleen Collins, one of the first African American women to direct a feature film. Given the ideological limits of Hollywood in the 1980s, the film’s insistence that an “ordinary” black woman’s daily life is a worthy subject for cinema was something of a radical claim. Unwilling to deliver the explicit “racial angle” that would make it intelligible for the popular market, Collins’s film was never picked up for theatrical release despite its success on the festival circuit. It was not until recently that interest in the film and in Collins as a figure was revived. Although certainly a welcome trend, O’Malley sees this renewed interest as limited, not appreciative as it might be about Collins’ broad range in what was actually a long career in the industry before she turned to directing, having worked on Blaxploitation films, documentaries, and Black Arts propaganda films. O’Malley argues that such immersive experiences enabled Collins’s acute sense of how formal film aesthetics might afford possibilities for creatively presenting not only the interiority of black women but black feminism in general. Committee members praised O’Malley’s paper for its attention to problem of particularity in such a project. Or, as O’Malley states the question: “How might one explore the collective identity of black women, while simultaneously accounting for the particularized experiences of individual subjects?” O’Malley’s paper is an indicator that the days of the dissolved subject being the mascot of contemporary criticism are over. Instead, she tunes in to a renewed sense of the political importance many fresh critical voices are finding in the idea that it is through the particularities of individual subjectivity that we put pressure on the accepted categories, concepts, and ways of thinking that we use to define broader public collectivity today.

The 2018 Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize judges were: Joseph Jeon (chair, University of California, Irvine), Elise Archias (University of Illinois, Chicago), and Tatiana Flores (Rutgers University, New Brunswick).

2018 Book Prize

Julia Bryan-Wilson, Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Amongst a very strong short list, the book prize committee recognized Fray for its inspiring mix of methodological innovation, sense of feminist and social engagement, and amazing re-articulation of contemporary art history around the material practices of textile art and craft in the United States and Chile from the 1970s to the present. Fray is a book that traces not only the emergence of an increasingly prominent artistic mode out of various craft and labor practices, but also shows how artists working with textiles–mainly women but also others operating on the margins of both the economy and the art-market–developed new material forms of expression and protest out of some of the most ancient technologies at our disposal as human beings–braiding, weaving, tying knots. Bryan-Wilson’s case studies explore the work of feminist knitting collectives, Chilean activists, emerging queer artists, and the vast numbers who contributed to the AIDS quilt. This is a book that provides a scrupulous examination of contemporary culture from the perspective of a medium whose materiality and immersion in bodily, physical labor challenge many of the stories we tell ourselves about art in an age of digital innovation and conceptual self-consciousness. At the same time, Fray assembles a picture of hemispheric contemporary art that offers scholars and critics in all the fields and area that ASAP embraces a chance to consider how female labor is valued, recognized, exploited, and made invisible. Bryan-Wilson’s work promises to change how scholars in various fields pay attention to craft-making practices and their representations in art, drama, literature, and everyday life.

The shortlisted titles for the 2018 ASAP Book Prize were:

Julia Bryan-Wilson, Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago Press)

Amy Sara Carroll, Remix: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era (University of Texas Press)

Kris Cohen, Never Alone, Except for Now: Art, Networks, Populations (Duke University Press)

Christopher Grobe, The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV (New York University Press)

Pooja Rangan, Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary (Duke University Press)

The 2018 ASAP Book Prize judges were Aimee Bahng, Mark Goble, and Rachel Middleman.


Book Prize
Julia Bryan-Wilson, Fray: Art and Textile Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

The 2018 ASAP Book Prize judges were Aimee Bahng, Mark Goble, and Rachel Middleman

Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize
Hayley O’Malley (Ph.D. candidate, English, University of Michigan), “Filming Everyday Freedom: The Black Feminist Praxis of Kathleen Collins’s Filmography”

The 2018 ASAP Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize judges were Elise Archias, Tatiana Flores, and Joseph Jeon (chair)


Book Prize (co-winners)
Ramzi Fawaz, The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics (New York University Press, 2016)


Annie McClanahan, Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First-Century Culture (Stanford University Press, 2016)

The 2017 ASAP Book Prize judges were Sarah Chihaya, Jonathan P. Eburne, Ignacio Sánchez Prado, and Molly Warnock


Book Prize
Angela Naimou, Salvage Work: U.S. and Caribbean Literatures amid the Debris of Legal Personhood (Fordham University Press, 2015)

Honorable Mention (two awards)
J. D. Connor, The Studios after the Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood (1970-2010) (Stanford University Press, 2015)


Paul Stephens, The Poetics of Information Overload: From Gertrude Stein to Conceptual Writing (University of Minnesota Press, 2015)

The 2016 ASAP Book Prize judges were Marijeta Bozovic, Jonathan P. Eburne, and Matthew Jesse Jackson


Book Prize
Heather Houser, Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction: Environment and Affect (Columbia University Press, 2014)

Honorable Mention
Sarah Brouillette, Literature and the Creative Economy (Stanford University Press, 2014)

The 2015 ASAP Book Prize judges were Jacob Edmond, Gloria Fisk, and Matthew Hart


Book Prize
Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art (Verso, 2013)

Honorable Mention
Min Hyoung Song, The Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, as an Asian American (Duke University Press, 2013)

The 2014 ASAP Book Prize judges were Sarah Evans, Andrew Hoberek, and Joseph Jeon


Book Prize 
Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (Verso, 2012)

Honorable Mention
Jacob Edmond, A Common Strangeness (Fordham University Press, 2012)

The 2013 ASAP Book Prize judges were Karen Jacobs, Jesse Matz, and Terry Smith


Book Prize
Kenneth Goldsmith, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age (Columbia University Press, 2011)

Honorable Mention
Terry Smith, Contemporary Art: World Currents (Prentice Hall, 2011)

The 2012 ASAP Book Prize judges were Amy Elias, Andrew Hoberek, and Melissa Lee

Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize
Nilgun Bayraktar (Ph.D. candidate, Performance Studies, University of California, Berkeley), “The Production of Migrant Illegality: Social Infrastructures of Undocumented Mobility in Ursula Biemann’s Sahara Chronicle”

The 2012 ASAP Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize judges were Matthew Hart and Jesse Matz