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 2019 has passed. Please check this space in spring 2021 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).

2019 Book Prize

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

A virtuosic study of the intersection of art and politics, Justin Jesty’s Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan presents an original and important contribution to the fields of global contemporary art criticism and East Asian studies. But it is also a profound study of the art of one country that reaches outward toward other contexts and disciplines. Skewing the recent fascination with the so-called global conceptualism of the 1960s, Jesty shows how overlooked genres and amateur and collective artistic practices attempted to shape democratic culture from below amidst the radical uncertainty of the immediate postwar period in Japan. This was a transitional moment characterized by intense debate about how to move on from violent trauma and how not to reproduce the mistakes of the past. Jesty pushes back against the fashionable and aestheticized revolutionary demands typical of the neo-avant-garde by underscoring, instead, the problems of “organization, goal-directedness, and incremental change” that formed part of a postwar common sense overlooked by the emphasis, among recent art histories, on the effects of reconstruction and modernization during the following decades.

Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan reconstructs an intriguing corpus of works and phenomena: the woodblocks of artist-miners; the drawings and paintings of reportage artists visiting the sites of U.S. military occupation; the attempt, among a younger generation of artists, to practice forms of collective authorship and circulation of their works; and the mobilization of art in progressive pedagogy projects. In each case, Jesty underscores the imbrication of politics not only in the archive of art but also in the sociopolitical context that gave it meaning. In the author’s own words, Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan presents artists and movements “enacting delineable social change, not just simply marking the need for it.” One could make a similar case for the lucid and rich sociocultural and art historical reconstructions in Jesty’s book. Rather than merely engaging in meta-critical debates about art and politics, Art and Engagement in Early Postwar Japan reveals the movements and styles of the early postwar period as terrain for rethinking the definition and social function of art beyond modernist autonomy.

In addition to Jesty’s monograph, the committee recognizes two titles for honorable mention:

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

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

The other shortlisted titles for the 2019 ASAP Book Prize were:

Tarek El-Ariss, Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age (Princeton University Press)

Gayatri Gopinath, Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (Duke University Press)

Damon R. Young, Making Sex Public and Other Cinematic Fantasies (Duke University Press)

The 2019 ASAP Book Prize judges were Joseph Jeon (chair, University of California, Irvine), Karen Benezra (Columbia University), and Rebecca Janzen (University of South Carolina).


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

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