Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Envelope Please.... Tex[t]-Mex Selected as ALA/Choice "Outstanding Academic Title, 2007"

".... and I want to thank all the special, beautiful people
who made this all possible....."

I was floored when my UT Press publicist and all around publishing diva Colleen Devine emailed me the news that Choice, a publication of the American Library Association, had selected Tex[t]-Mex as an "Outstanding Academic Title" for 2007. After the review they published last October, calling my humble tome "a must read for media/communication professionals and all who wish to debunk the misinformation machinery," you would think there wouldn't be enough love left in the realm of librarians for more, but with this selection, they've kicked it up another notch.

Not surprisingly, librarians now loom large in all my fantasies!

More seriously, I have to hand it to editor-in-chief Theresa May, again, for picking Tex[t]-Mex out of its decades-long limbo and helping to bring it to light of day; and a big abrazo of course for Lisa Tremaine, who designed the beast, and to Nancy Warrington, who edited it, making me sound smarter than I am.

So what does this all mean?*
It means that a mass cultural study by the name of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America was awarded the designation ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ 2007 by the American Library Association--this annoucement appeared in the January 2008 issue of Choice, ALA’s premier review journal for academic librarians. Previously reviewed by Choice Reviews Online in the June, 2007, Tex[t]-Mex was rated as "essential." A full listing of Outstanding Academic Titles is available from Choice Reviews Online, an ALA/ACRL publication, available by subscription.

Every year, Choice subject editors single out for recognition the most significant print and electronic works reviewed in Choice during the previous calendar year. Appearing annually in Choice's January issue, this prestigious list of publications reflects the best in scholarly titles and attracts attention from the academic library community. The 2007 feature includes 646 titles in 54 disciplines and subsections. In awarding OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE status, the editors apply several criteria to reviewed titles:
  • overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
  • importance relative to other literature in the field
  • distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
  • originality or uniqueness of treatment
  • value to undergraduate students
  • importance in building undergraduate library collections
In publishing the OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE feature, Choice acknowledges and honors the authors, editors, and publishers of these works for their vital contribution to the scholarly endeavor.
Before the music starts to play me off the stage, I want to thank the Academy--of librarians--for selecting Tex[t]-Mex for 2007. I kind of like to think that the ghosts of Pancho Villa, Frida Kahlo, Cesar Chavez, Rosario Castellanos, Severo Sarduy, Jorge Luis Borges and my beautiful Daddy are up the heavens laughing, toasting me with a tequila shot for my luck and good fortune. The real thanks, in the end, go to all my students and friends from the University of Texas at Austin, Cornell University, the University of Connecticut, Storrs, San Diego State University and at the Foundation for International Education, London--places all where I have had the chance to hang my academic sombrero. Without their dynamic contributions in class, I NEVER would have had the wherewithal to finish the Sisyphean task of publishing this volume.

update 1/15/08

I just discovered that Tex[t]-Mex won its ALA award in the category of "film studies." This means that this once 20th Century Latin Americanist and Chicano Literature researcher who dabbled in continental philosophy and post-colonial theory has completed his makeover into a full-on cinema geek! Look out J. Hoberman, Roger Ebert, Kaja Silverman, and Laura Mulvey, here I come!

[*] I cribbed most of this set-off material from a fellow winner here and to whose publicity hacks I am in debt!