The Modern Language Association of America announced it is awarding its first annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for African Studies to Belinda Edmondson, Distinguished Professor in the departments of English and Africana studies at Rutgers University-Newark. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in African or African diaspora literary or linguistic studies.
Professor Edmondson is being honored for her book Creole Noise: Early Caribbean Dialect, Literature, and Performance (Oxford University Press, 2022).
The prize committee’s citation for the award states that “Belinda Edmondson’s Creole Noise: Early Caribbean Dialect, Literature, and Performance offers a powerful and compelling genealogy of the relationship between noise and dialect in Caribbean literature and complicates the traditional binarism between the blackness of orality and the whiteness of literary narrative. Focusing on the culture, currency, and politics of Creole and its long history, Edmondson provides a captivating story of the language at various sites of contestation between classes, racial groups, and ethnicities and traces its diasporic crossing from Jamaica to Harlem. Superbly written, the book is also carefully calibrated. Edmondson demonstrates a mastery of the historical evolution of criticism in the field, and her astute balance of archival work, literary history, and interpretation stands out as an enthralling example of the power and scope of African diasporic scholarship at its best.”