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Simpson Center for the Humanities

American Sabor wins Best History in the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Awards for Excellence

Congratulations to Professors Marisol Berríos-Miranda (Music), Shannon Dudley (Music), and Michelle Habell-Pallán (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies), whose bilingual book, American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music (University of Washington Press 2017) is the winner of Best History in the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Awards for Excellence.

The collaboration that led to the publication of American Sabor has extensive Simpson Center connections, beginning with a funding award in 2011 that supported the writing and publication of American Sabor, as well as a traveling museum exhibit by the same name. Former Simpson Center Associate Director Miriam Bartha consulted with the project leaders on bridging the worlds of academic scholarship, museum exhibitions, and community partners such as KEXP. Habell-Pallán also received the 2017 Barclay Simpson Prize for Scholarship in Public for her contributions to the field, including American Sabor. Habell-Pallán is also Director of the Certificate in Public Scholarship, which is located in the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity at the University of Washington and is supported by the UW Graduate School and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.

The book builds on the exhibition’s work of challenging the white-and-black racial framework that dominates many narratives of US musical history. But the sabor in the title is significant, showing role of pleasure, delight, and movement that infuses the intellectual critique. From the publisher:

Evoking the pleasures of music as well as food, the word sabor signifies a rich essence that makes our mouths water or makes our bodies want to move. American Sabor traces the substantial musical contributions of Latinas and Latinos in American popular music between World War II and the present in five vibrant centers of Latin@ musical production: New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Miami. From Tito Puente's mambo dance rhythms to the Spanglish rap of Mellow Man Ace, American Sabor focuses on musical styles that have developed largely in the United States-including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, punk, hip hop, country, Tejano, and salsa-but also shows the many ways in which Latin@ musicians and styles connect US culture to the culture of the broader Americas.

Begun in 1991, the ARSC Awards are given to authors of books, articles or recording liner notes to recognize those publishing the very best work today in recorded sound research. In giving these awards, ARSC recognizes the contributions of these individuals and aims to encourage others to emulate their high standards and to promote readership of their work.