University of New Mexico Associate Professor Carmen Nocentelli is the recipient of the 22nd annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies awarded by the Modern Language Association of America. Nocentelli, an associate professor of English and comparative literature, earned the award for her book, Empires of Love: Europe, Asia, and the Making of Early Modern Identity, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

The prize, awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work that is written by a member of the association and that involves at least two literatures, is one of 16 awards to be presented during the association's annual convention Jan. 10, 2015 in Vancouver. It is the second award Nocentelli has received for the book. Previously, she was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize in Literature.

The committee’s citation for Nocentelli’s book reads:

  • Based on extensive archival work, Nocentelli’s Empires of Love investigates the mutual constitution of European and Asian identities across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, specifically by focusing on the constructions and projections of race and sexuality, which contributed to definitions and self-definitions of culture. In this brilliant, broadly conceived study, the readings adroitly attend to materials in English, Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish with expert erudition and theoretical insight. In pressing the relevance of race in the history of sexuality, Nocentelli offers a lucid and altogether compelling account of how eros turns into matters of ethnos. Historically grounded and deeply reflective, the book fruitfully opens fresh lines of research in early modern studies and theories of empire.

Nocentelli received her MA from American University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Modern Language Quarterly, PMLA, and Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies. Her translation into Italian, Spostare il centro del mondo: la lotta per le libertà culturali, by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, received the 2001 Nonino International Prize. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, from institutions such as the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Newberry Library.

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund was established and donated by Aldo Scaglione to the Modern Language Association in 1987. The fund honors the memory of Scaglione’s late wife, Jeanne Daman Scaglione. The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, awarded under the auspices of the MLA’s Committee on Honors and Awards, was presented for the first time in 1992.

Founded in 1883, The Modern Language Association of America and its 30,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. The MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. The MLA sustains one of the finest publication programs in the humanities, producing a variety of publications for language and literature professionals and for the general public.

For more information, visit: MLA programs.