History Professor Seth Garfield received the Bolton-Johnson Prize Honorable Mention Award for his book In Search of the Amazon: Brazil, the United States, and the Nature of a Region (Duke University Press, Dec. 2013).
The award was announced earlier this month at the annual conference of the American Historical Association in New York City. According to the website of the Conference on Latin American History, the Bolton-Johnson Prize is given to the best book in English on Latin American history published in the previous year, with honorable mention given to “an additional distinguished work deemed worthy” by the prize committee. The citation read at the awards ceremony praised Garfield’s work on a complex and often misunderstood topic:
“Seth Garfield brings the best methodologies of social and political history into dialogue with new debates over environmental and transnational history. Examining the impact of World War II and the United States’ need for rubber on Brazilian policy in the Amazon, Garfield underscores the role of labor migration from the drought-stricken Northeast and competing efforts by military, medical, religious, and industrial leaders to forge a rational male workforce. The book traces transformations in ideas about race, gender, and family as central components in capitalist exploitation as well as in conceptualizations of ‘nature’ and ‘national resources.’ If contemporary environmental movements portray the Amazon as a pristine forest inhabited by traditional people, Garfield’s book lays bare the heavy presence of people and policy that continually made the Tropics.”
Garfield is director of the Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History, and the LLILAS undergraduate faculty adviser. This semester, he will teach the graduate seminar Postcolonial Brazil.