Carole Boyce Davies, a new faculty member at Cornell's Africana Studies and Research Center, has won the 2008 Letitia Woods Brown Book Award for her book "Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones" (Duke University Press, 2008).
The award is given annually by the Association of Black Women Historians. Davies' book was a unanimous selection of the award committee.
"Davies writes about how the lifetime desire of Claudia Jones to address injustice led to her multiple arrests, health problems and an absence in American history," said Ida Jones, chair of the award committee. "Yet, Jones remained a freedom fighter and advocated for women's rights along with social justice. Davies has recovered Jones from the shadow of history."
Committee member Nikki Taylor said: "Davies' writing is poetic; her research impeccable; her contribution to the field is unparalleled. The title is brilliant -- especially given what Jones added to international radicalism. So few of the works we consider for this prize are so international in scope."
Davies is a professor of Africana studies, English and comparative literature. She came to Cornell this year from Florida International University, where she was director of the African-New World Studies Program.
She has been a featured speaker this semester in the Africana Center's Colloquium Series and Black Authors/New Book Series, speaking on Claudia Jones and on "Sisters Outside: The Black Radical Intellectual Tradition." She currently is preparing a compilation of the writings of Claudia Jones, titled "Beyond Containment: Claudia Jones, Activism, Clarity and Vision."
Davies also is the author of "Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject" (1994); general editor of the two-volume "Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora" (2008); co-editor of "The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities" (1999) and "Decolonizing the Academy: African Diaspora Studies (2003); and a contributor to several critical anthologies.
She is now writing a series of personal reflections titled "Caribbean Spaces: Between the Twilight Zone and the Underground Railroad," focusing on transnational Caribbean-American black identity.