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2005 Margaret Church MFS Memorial Prize
The Editors are pleased to announce the winner of the 2005 Margaret Church Memorial Prize for the best essay to appear in MFS. The Church Prize was established in 1984 in memory of Dr. Church, a professor of English and comparative literature at Purdue University and a longtime editor of this journal.
The winner for 2005 is Sara Blair. Her essay "Whose Modernism Is It? Abraham Cahan, Fictions of Yiddish, and the Contest of Modernity" appeared in our Summer 2005 (51.2) special issue "Modernism's Jews/Jewish Modernism," guest edited by Maren Linett.
Special thanks to Alan Nadel (Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute) for selecting this year's winner. In making his selection, Prof. Nadel writes,
Sara Blair's "Whose Modernism Is It? Abraham Cahan, Fictions of Yiddish, and the Contest of Modernity" is a compelling, extremely lucid essay, commendable for its scope as well as its rich, incisive argument, one that impels a fruitful re-imagining of intellectual/aesthetic history. Blair demonstrates that Abraham Cahan's work "embodies the urgency and generative power" of the literary and philosophical transformations that constitute American modernism. The energy of modernism, she makes clear, lies not only in its aesthetic but also in its cultural, historical, and thus necessarily ethnic negotiations, such that in comprising both the invisible marks and estranged margins of assimilation, the immigrant, the Lower East Side of New York, and, especially, the Yiddish language, provided the intellectual topography and geographical site upon which modernism found its (gendered) articulations.
Prof. Blair, who teaches at the University of Michigan, received $300 and a certificate, a copy of which appears here. [End Page 544]