Juliana Hu Pegues wins ASA book prize for ‘Space-Time Colonialism’

Juliana Hu Pegues, associate professor of Literatures in English has received the 2022 Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association for “Space-Time Colonialism: Alaska’s Indigenous and Asian Entanglements.”

The prize recognizes the best first book in American Studies released during 2021. Hu Pegues will be honored during the ASA Annual Meeting, Nov. 3-6 in New Orleans.

Published by The University of North Carolina Press, Hu Pegues’ book is rooted in her own experience growing up Asian American in Alaska, where she heard many intersecting stories of Asian immigrants and Alaska Native peoples that never made it into the history books. In “Space-Time Colonialism,” she seeks to correct the record by evaluating four key historical periods in U.S.-Alaskan history – The Alaskan purchase, the Gold Rush, the emergence of salmon canneries and the World War II era – with a special focus on often overlooked connections between Alaska Native peoples and Asian American immigrants.

“Juliana Hu Pegues has written an elegant and humane book, ingeniously suggesting how to better specify settler colonialism’s relationship to empire, and better recognize how settlement’s practices, ranging from violence to new intimacies, reorient meanings of race, gender and indigeneity as categories,” members of the prize committee wrote. “The yield is a reading of American empire inside out, by way of its contradictions and harms, showing how space and time could be redefined by the entanglement of peoples thought incidental to history and future…Hu Pegues teaches us about the creation of strange and new ways to work, play, love and, above all, remember each other.”

Hu Pegues said that she is honored to receive this award because “American Studies was my first intellectual home and continues to be the field that produces the most meaningful scholarship for our times. I hope that readers of my book come away with the message that colonialism and racial exploitation are never inevitable or absolute, that the experiences of Indigenous and immigrant peoples, lived together, teach us another way to be.”

Hu Pegues’ research interests are in Asian American studies, Native and Indigenous studies and women of color feminism and queer of color critique.

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Book cover: Space-Time Colonialism