A book by Debra Andrist, Sam Houston State University professor of Spanish, has been selected to receive the South Central Modern Language Association’s 2016 Book Award.
“The Body, Subject & Subjected: The Representation of the Body Itself Illness, Injury, Treatment & Death in Spain and Indigenous and Hispanic American Art & Literature” was conceptualized, edited and introduced by Andrist.
The book examines how the body is used as a subject in art and literature by using the “selfie” craze as a metaphor. It is explored through a collection of critical essays on those topics from the Iberian Peninsula, pre-Columbian American and Hispanic American cultures.
“Hominids have always been obsessed with representing their own bodies,” Andrist wrote for the book’s back cover. “The first ‘selfies’ were prehistoric negative hand images and human stick figures, followed by stone and ceramic representations of the human figure. Thousands of years later, moving via historic art and literature to contemporary social media, the contemporary term ‘selfie’ was self-generated.”
She and colleagues from the SHSU Department of Foreign Languages also authored chapters in the book, including faculty members Enrique Mallén and Montse Feu, Spanish graduate student Jorge Chavarro, and former SHSU pool faculty Norma Mouton.
“The essays reveal critics’ insights when ‘selfies’ are examined through a focused ‘lens’ over a breadth of cultures,” Andrist wrote. “The result, complex and unique, is that what is viewed—the visual art and literature under discussion becomes a mirror image, indistinguishable from the component viewing apparatus, the ‘lens.’”
Since 1992, the SCMLA Book Award has annually recognized the best book by a member of the association with a $500 prize.
The book is available in both print and electronic form. Other books by Andrist and other SHSU collaborators include “Insult to Injury,” which will appear in December, and “S/He: Sex and Gender in the Spanish, Hispanic American and Mesoamerican Worlds,” which will appear mid-2017.