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Modern Language Association Awards Top Prize to Villanova University English Professor

Modern Language Association Awards Top Prize to Villanova University English Professor

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Kamran Javadizadeh, PhD, associate professor of English in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has won The Modern Language Association (MLA) of America’s 56th annual William Riley Parker Prize for outstanding article published in PMLA, the association’s journal of literary scholarship. The award was presented earlier this month during the association’s annual convention, held in Seattle.

Founded in 1883 and today comprising more than 25,000 members from 100 countries, the MLA works to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Dr. Javadizadeh’s essay, “The Atlantic Ocean Breaking on Our Heads: Claudia Rankine, Robert Lowell, and the Whiteness of the Lyric Subject” appeared in the May 2019 issue of PMLA.          

“’The Atlantic Ocean Breaking on Our Heads’ rose gracefully from a comparison of a line appearing in poems written by Claudia Rankine and Robert Lowell to a far-reaching and sophisticated argument about lyric subjectivity and whiteness,'” cited the MLA awards committee in announcing the honor. “Based primarily on insightful close readings of texts by Rankine and Lowell, [the essay] skillfully works those astute interpretations in a broader context involving the racial dynamics of various genres of twentieth-century poetry, particularly lyric verse (confessional and experimental). Javadizadeh’s exceptionally thoughtful essay has important implications beyond the two authors at its center, making a substantial contribution to the field of new lyric studies.”

Dr. Javadizadeh’ s research and teaching focus on poetry and poetics. He is the author of the forthcoming Institutionalized Lyric: American Poetry at Midcentury from Oxford University Press.  His essays have appeared in the journals Modernism/modernity, Arizona Quarterly, and The Yale Review and in several edited anthologies. He is coeditor of Poetry Networks, a forthcoming special issue of College Literature. He earned his doctorate from Yale University and has also taught at Pomona College and Connecticut College. He is now in the early stages of a new book project, one that weaves together literary criticism, memoir, translation, and the tangled histories of the United States, where he grew up, and Iran, where he was born.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit