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.

Book Prize

ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present invites nominations and self-nominations for its annual Book Prize, awarded to a scholarly book written by an ASAP member that has made the most significant contribution to the study of the arts of the present during the calendar year 2023. Books with a 2024 publication date must wait for the following year, even if released in 2023. Any English-language book that addresses the contemporary arts published anywhere in the world may be considered for this award.

The members of the Book Prize Committee this year are:
Amber Musser, Graduate Center, CUNY
Past President of ASAP; Chair of the Book                 Prize Committee
Jasmine Mahmoud, University of Washington,         Seattle; ASAP Executive Committee                             Member- At-Large
Omari Weekes, Queens College, CUNY
ASAP Executive Committee Secretary

Rules for Competition

 Authors must be members of ASAP at the time of submission.
 Current members of the ASAP Executive Committee are not eligible.
 The award is for scholarly work rather than creative production (creative writing,
original artwork, etc.), though we understand that submissions may challenge these
 Jointly authored monographs and exhibition catalogues will be considered.
 Textbooks, anthologies, collections by multiple authors, bound editions of journals, and
books in an edition other than the first will not be considered.
 Self-published work is not eligible for the award.
 All submissions must be peer-reviewed 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.
 Any issues not considered in this call will be resolved by the Prize Committee and the ASAP Executive Committee. Decisions by the Prize Committee and the Executive Committee are final.

Submission guidelines
The books must be mailed to each member of the committee. Email a website link to the book and your contact information to ; you will then receive the mailing addresses.

Print copies are required. Authors with books that are natively electronic and offer no possibility of printed copy may contact the Chair to request consideration. All books must be postmarked by the submission deadline of June 1, 2024. We strongly recommend the use of mailing services with tracking numbers to avoid any issues. Submitted books will not be returned even if they are deemed ineligible. For more information about the prize, including a list of previous winners, visit

Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize

All graduate students who presented a talk at ASAP/14 in 2023, either virtually, or in Seattle, are eligible to compete for the prize. The author must be a member of the association in good standing at the time of nomination. The winner will be announced at the annual meeting of the association (ASAP/15 in New York City, NY October 17-19, 2024), as well as via the association’s website and social media thereafter. The winner will receive a $200 cash prize.

ASAP Graduate Student Prize. Submissions are due by Tuesday, October 1, 2024. Please keep this deadline in mind when making nominations. Please send submissions to .

Rules for Competition

  • 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.
  • The paper must be the same version as the presentation at ASAP/14. It should not be revised or edited in any way. Papers pre-circulated to seminars are eligible, but submissions longer than 12 double-spaced pages (works cited excluded) will not be accepted.

Send nominations, self-nominations, and submissions directly to
Maia Gil’Adi’ at . Use the subject line: ASAP Graduate Student Prize. Submissions are due by Tuesday, October 1, 2024. Please keep this deadline in mind when making nominations.


2020 Book Prize

Darby English
To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror (Yale 2019)

Darby English asks, “how do you do representation in a crisis?” Taking on the fraught subject of police killings of Black people, English explores the foundational violence of the United States, capturing the urgency of our historical conjuncture. He reckons with the hypervisibility and obliteration of Black life, but chooses, counter-intuitively, to ask for a pause that allows artworks to unsettle us at moments of intense political engagement. Eschewing blanket solutions as well as a simple though righteous anger, English centers on ruminative objects and projects to expand our sense of what the future might hold beyond the impasses of the present. In doing so, he reckons with the unfolding of a “massively demoralizing tragedy without the comfort of consoling narratives or satisfying conceptualizations.” English slows down our ready mobilization of polarizing categories (us/them, good/bad) in order to stage a real relationship with particular qualities rather than a relationship between abstract preconceptions which seem only to be able to clash violently.

Exploring Zoe Leonard’s Tipping Point, Kerry James Marshall’s untitled 2015 portrait of a Black male police officer, Pope.L’s Skin Set Drawings, and a replica of the Lorraine Motel (the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968), English urges us to rethink the work of art in relation to love, judgment, difference, and violence.

The committee found his formal analysis of Kerry James Marshall in “The Painter and the Police” especially outstanding. English lets Marshall’s picture be challenging and weird, in relation to the perceived critique of the command “Stop Killing Us” generated by the Black Lives Matter movement. That English cannot orient himself in relation to the figure of the Black policeman with any composure becomes for him a meaningful starting place for analysis. He then takes very subtle observations about the artist’s choices – with regard to color, spatial illusion, whether and where the surface would be smooth or textured – and makes them have real consequences for his argument. He in effect has a lengthy relationship in writing with the particular qualities of the picture, demonstrating his point about what is needed, or what would be better than our reigning tendencies. Finding Marshall’s difficulty salutary rather than stifling, English asks us to attend to the irreducible in matter and space, thought and feeling.

The 2020 ASAP Book Prize committee was: Yogita Goyal (chair, Professor, African American Studies and English, University of California, Los Angeles), Elise Archias (Associate Professor, Art History, University of Illinois, Chicago), and Kenneth Warren (Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor, English, University of Chicago).

ASAP11 Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize

Maggie Unverzagt Goddard
Ph.D. candidate, American Studies, Brown University

Maggie Unverzagt Goddard’s “Aesthetic Strategies for Political Action: Doreen Garner and Black Youth Project 100” identifies a meeting point between Black Youth Project 100’s activism and the work of visual artist Doreen Garner as they both explore the legacies of violence and violation that shape the past and present of Black women’s experience, particularly in the health care system. The paper describes BYP100’s recent public protest calling for the removal of a statue dedicated to the “father of modern gynecology” who experimented on Black women, James Marion Sims, alongside Garner’s photographs and installations that often features medical equipment and amputated limbs. In the blurred boundary between art and activism Goddard describes the potential for new modes of visuality and reading strategies that attend to the political work of aesthetics. Committee members praised Goddard’s evocative descriptions and close analysis of public performances, fine art photography, and installation work. Reading across visual objects, “Aesthetic Strategies” enacts the same expansive and nonlinear approach as the artwork it explores; thus, it is able to acknowledge the continued trauma that motivates this work while offering “a beauty in persistence” as a generative aesthetic strategy.

The 2020 ASAP Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize committee was: Yogita Goyal (chair, University of California, Los Angeles) and Lauren M. Cramer (University of Toronto).

Past Winners

Book Prize
Justin Jesty, Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan (Cornell University Press, 2018)

Honorable Mentions
Stephen Best, None Like Us: Blackness, Belonging, Aesthetic Life (Duke University Press, 2018)


David Parisi, Archaeologies of Touch: Interfacing with Haptics from Electricity to Computing (University of Minnesota Press, 2018)

The 2019 ASAP Book Prize judges were Karen Benezra, Rebecca Janzen, and Joseph Jeon (chair)

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 2019 Graduate Student Conference Paper Prize judges were Elise Archias, Tatiana Flores, and Joseph Jeon (chair)

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 (chair), and Rachel Middleman

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 Mentions
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