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Prizes and Awards

  • At its March 2014 Narrative Conference, the International Society for the Study of Narrative awarded its George and Barbara Perkins Prize (for best contribution to study of narrative in 2012) to Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (University of Chicago Press). The prize committee wrote of the book: “This book makes two very ambitious claims: (a) Orientalism in the 18th century was more complex, less imperialistic, and more open to otherness (even if inaccurately imagined) than in the 19th century, and (b) Watt’s influential notion of the “rise of the novel” overemphasizes British realism, at the expense of equally important texts, often neither British nor realistic, that are broadly ‘Orientalist.’ Srinivas Aravamudan draws on a wide range of fiction from the long 18th century– analyzing authors as diverse as Behn, Bidpai, Defoe, Montesquieu, Prévost, Sheridan, Smollett and Voltaire—to name just a few, plus contemporary commentary, as well as theories from our day. He not only reminds us of but also helps us delight in now forgotten texts and genres that were once wildly popular, demonstrating among other things how closely French and English literatures were in contact with one another in that period. This book changes our ideas of the Enlightenment, the shapes and affects of Orientalism, and the history of narrative. For these reasons, I am happy on behalf of the International Society for the Study of Narrative to award it the Perkins Prize.”
  • On September 19, 2013,  Indiana State University’s Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies awarded its
    Kenshur Prize (for the best book in eighteenth-century studies published in 2012) to Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (University of Chicago Press). The Prize Committee wrote of the book: “Srinivas Aravamudan’s Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel is a big book. It offers a deeply revisionist take on some of the most fundamental questions of eighteenth-century literature and indeed of eighteenth-century studies tout court. On the one hand, it undertakes a vast project of recovery, drawing and highlighting largely neglected lines of influence from eighteenth-century oriental tales to the heart of the canon that underpins the standard ‘rise of the novel’ narrative for this period. At the same time, the outcome of this multi-strand recovery project is a fundamentally different take on the ‘rise of the novel’ narrative itself: if Aravamudan is right, we will never tell that story in the same way again. Some of course might claim that he is not right, or not quite right, or only half-right: this in the end is the greatest tribute to a prize-winning book – that it unsettles a field to the point that its very conceptual apparatus will never be the same as before the book appeared. Nor will our understanding of Orientalism be able to retain its monochrome tones (derived from the work of Edward Said and his followers), given Aravamudan’s emphasis on the different, anti-foundationalist orientalism of the eighteenth century. For these reasons of breadth, originality, big claims and far-reaching relevance, we are delighted to reward the Kenshur Prize for 2012 to Enlightenment Orientalism.”
  • Principal Investigator, A. W. Mellon Grant for Duke University “Humanities Writ Large,” 2011-16 ($6,000,000).
  • Principal Investigator, A. W. Mellon Grant for Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, “Collaborative Humanities,” 2011-12 ($100,000)
  • Senior Distinguished Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra Australia, June-August 2011, June-July 2012.
  • President of Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, 2007-12.

Permanent link to this article: https://sites.duke.edu/srinivasaravamudan/prizes-and-award/