Athens, Ga. – A book by an associate professor in the department of Romance languages in the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences has won a top award from the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.
From Split to Screened Selves: French and Francophone Autobiography in the Third Person (Stanford University Press, 2006) by Rachel Gabara won the SAMLA Studies Award, which will be formally presented at the group’s conference in Atlanta in mid-November.
The award honors the author of an outstanding scholarly book published during the previous calendar year. It provides a $1,000 honorarium to the author and a complimentary convention registration for the year when the award is to be given.
“This book is a study of recent autobiographies by French and Francophone African writers and filmmakers, all of whom reject simple first-person narration and experiment with narrative voice and form to represent fragmented subjectivity,” reads the book’s cover description. “Gabara investigates autobiography across media, from print to photography and film, as well as across the colonial encounter, from France to Francophone North and West Africa. Reading works by Roland Barthes, Nathalie Sarraute, Assia Djebar, Cyril Collard, David Achkar, and Raoul Peck, she argues that autobiographical film and African autobiography, subgenres that have until now been overlooked or dismissed by critics, offer new and important possibilities for self-representation in the 21st century.”
Panivong Norindr of the University of Southern California has called the book “an outstanding contribution to literary, cultural and film studies,” and Choice magazine said, “This interesting, carefully researched study will be very useful.”
The winner is selected by the SAMLA Studies Award Committee. Nominated books must adhere to the highest standards of scholarship and criticism and offer a significant contribution to their field.
Gabara received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Yale University in 1991 and a diploma from the University of Paris III in 1994, and earned her doctoral degree in comparative literature and a graduate certificate in film studies from the University of Michigan in 2000.
She began her academic career at Princeton University, where she was an assistant professor of comparative literature from 2000-2005. She came to UGA in 2005 as an assistant professor of Romance languages and was promoted to associate professor in 2007.