November 24, 2009 - St. Paul, Minn. - For the second time in six years, a Macalester alumnus has won the American Academy of Religion book award. Earlier this month, Christian Lee Novetzke '93, (a co-winner with Benjamin Lazier, Reed College) won the Best First Book in the History of Religions award for Religion and Public Memory: A Cultural History of Saint Namdev in India, Columbia University Press, 2008. In 2003, Ananda Abeysekara ’92, won the Best First Book in the History of Religions award for Colors of the Robe: Religion, Identity, and Difference, University of South Carolina Press, 2002.
The Awards for Excellence and Best First Book in the History of Religions recognize new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion. The awards honor books of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity and importance, books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.
Awards were presented earlier this month at the American Academy of Religion’s 2009 Annual Meeting held in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
Novetzke lives in Seattle, Wash., and majored in English and Philosophy at Macalester. Abeysekara lives in Blackburg, Va., and majored in Religious Studies at Macalester.
As a learned society and professional association of teachers and research scholars, the American Academy of Religion has over 11,000 members who teach in some 1,500 colleges, universities, seminaries, and schools in North America and abroad. The Academy is dedicated to furthering knowledge of religion and religious institutions in all their forms and manifestations. This is accomplished through Academy-wide and regional conferences and meetings, publications, programs, and membership services.
Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. For more information, visit www.macalester.edu.