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Image of A book cover showing the title 'Foundational Films: Early Cinema and Modernity in Brazil

Dr Maite Conde wins Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize

College Fellow Dr Maite Conde has won the Modern Language Association of America’s Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for her book Foundational Films: Early Cinema and Modernity in Brazil (University of California Press, 2018).

The award committee’s citation for Dr Conde’s book states: “Foundational Films: Early Cinema and Modernity in Brazil explores the beginning of Brazilian cinema through a focus on silent films produced during the First Republic (1889–1930). Analysis of these early films brings a fresh perspective to bear both on the construction of the nation and on the tensions between the film industries of Latin America and Hollywood.

“Conde demonstrates clearly that Brazilian cinema transcended Hollywood’s themes and aesthetics and engaged with more culturally specific issues (including slavery) to constitute Brazilian modern ways of seeing that were more grounded and enabled a national film culture. A groundbreaking study, Foundational Films will influence all studies of film in Brazil and Latin America for years to come.”

Speaking about the award, Dr Conde said: "I feel incredibly happy and honoured to have been awarded this extremely prestigious prize, awarded to books that have changed the field of Hispanic studies internationally. It is very special to be told that my own book is considered this way, and recognition of the hard work that went into writing it.

“The book took eight years to produce as it relies heavily on archival research and uses approaches from different disciplines such as geography, history, anthropology, literary studies and architecture and urban planning, so it’s lovely to hear that these efforts have been appreciated!”

The Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize was founded in 1990 and recognises outstanding books published in English or Spanish in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures. The award will be presented on 11 January 2020, during the Modern Lanuguage Society of America annual convention in Seattle which is expected to draw over 5,000 attendees

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