Every four years, at the convening of the Quadrennial Conference on The State of Mark Twain Studies, the Mark Twain Circle of America hands out a series of awards.
The Thomas A. Tenney Award for Distinguished Service was given to Chad Rohman, currently serving as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Dominican University. Rohman is being recognized particularly for his tenures as editor of both the Mark Twain Circular (2009-2013) and the Mark Twain Annual (2014-2018). Circle President, Henry Wonham, added, “With regard to conferences and special events that have kept Mark Twain and Twain Studies in the public eye over the last two decades, Chad has done as much as anyone and far more than most of us.”
The Olivia Langdon Clemens Award for Scholarly Creativity & Innovation was given to Shelley Fisher Fishkin, with particular emphasis on her work in Transnational American Studies. Wonham said,
We especially value her work in editorial collaboration on the project, “Global Huck: Mapping the Cultural Work of Translations of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” In the words of the Journal of Transnational American Studies, which published this work, “the project explores how Mark Twain’s novel has shaped cultural conversations about literature, racism, and vernacular language in nine different regions of the world.” The Mark Twain Circle wishes to recognize Shelley for helping to put Mark Twain and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn front and center in transnational studies.
Fishkin, who is the Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities at Stanford University, was also the co-organizer of this year’s conference, and one of the most decorated Twain scholars of her (or any) generation.
The Louis J. Budd Award for Distinguished Scholarship went to Kerry Driscoll, for her 2018 book, Mark Twain Among The Indians & Other Indigenous Peoples. As Mika Turim-Nygren notes in her recent American Vandal Podcast series based on the book’s reception, Mark Twain Among The Indians has been widely heralded as the most important book in Twain Studies so far in the 21st century. Wonham called it, “The first truly unflinching examination of Twain’s highly problematic references to, and representations of, Native Americans.” And applauded Driscoll for shedding “new light not only on changes and variations in Twain’s attitudes toward indigenous peoples, but also on the changing ideological landscape of late 19th- and early 20th-century America.”
Driscoll is Professor Emerita at University of St. Joseph, as well as former faculty at Elmira College, and is currently an Editor for the Mark Twain Project at UC-Berkeley.