Maria Farland, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Fordham University, was awarded the Constance M. Rourke Prize by the American Studies Association at its annual meeting in Philadelphia on Friday, Oct. 12.
Farland was honored for having published the best article of 2006 in the association’s flagship journal, American Quarterly. Her article, “W. E. B. DuBois, Anthropometric Science, and the Limits of Racial Uplift,” appeared in the journal’s December 2006 issue. The article examines DuBois’s lost study of a predominantly black county in Alabama that sought to refute the belief that blacks were mentally and physically inferior to whites. The study was destroyed by the U.S. Census Bureau, and Farland wrote that “its findings have disappeared almost entirely from the historical record.” Farland’s analysis, however, shows how DuBois used some of the data in his 1911 novel, The Quest of the Silver Fleece.
The American Studies Association is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history. The association presents eight awards each year to scholars whose work has made a significant contribution to American studies.
Herman Beavers, Ph.D., professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and member of the jury committee, called Farland’s piece “one of the most original and persuasive essays on DuBois’s work as a social scientist and creative writer” that provided literary scholars with a “much more profound understanding as to why DuBois turned from social scientific research to writing novels.”