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MLA awards Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures to Yasemin Yildiz for Beoyond the Mother Tongue

New York, NY – 4 December 2012 – The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its tenth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures to Yasemin Yildiz, of the University of Illinois, Urbana, for her book Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition, published by Fordham University Press. Jane O. Newman, of the University of California, Irvine, received honorable mention for her book, Benjamin’s Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque, published by Cornell University Press–Cornell University Library’s Signale book series. The prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of the Germanic languages, including Danish, Dutch, German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, and Yiddish.

The prize is one of fifteen awards that will be presented on 5 January 2013, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Boston. The members of the selection committee were Benjamin Bennett (Univ. of Virginia); Gisela Brinker-Gabler (Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York); and Catriona Macleod (Univ. of Pennsylvania). The committee’s citation for the winning book reads:

Yasemin Yildiz’s Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition is a highly ambitious study and directly engages an important contemporary discussion of transnational writers and of the denationalizing of literature in an era of globalization. Analyses of five different models for creative reconfiguration of the monolingual paradigm provide the reader with an open-ended but well-contoured perspective from which to rethink the whole idea of a natural link between language, nation, gender, and ethnicity and linguistic dominance. “German” is productively resituated and mobilized along global itineraries. Yildiz maintains her focus on a strictly circumscribed set of questions and avoids diluting her thought with forays into technical linguistics. The result is a compact and thoroughly readable work, which will certainly provoke discussion.

Yasemin Yildiz is an associate professor of German at the University of Illinois, Urbana. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century German literature and culture with research interests in literary multilingualism, minority discourses (especially Turkish-German and German-Jewish), transnational studies, and gender studies. She received her PhD from Cornell University. She is the author of essays on migration, gender and Islam, multilingualism, and Holocaust literature that have appeared in books and in journals such as Cultural Critique, Parallax, and German Life and Letters. She is working on a coauthored book on immigrant acts of coming to terms with Nazism and the Holocaust in present-day Germany.