Carolina Sá Carvalho recognized with multiple awards for latest book

June 5, 2024 by Sean McNeely - A&S News

Carolina Sá Carvalho, an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese in the Faculty of Arts & Science, has received four prestigious international awards for her ground-breaking book Traces of the Unseen: Photography, Violence, and Modernization in Early Twentieth-Century Latin America, published by Northwestern University Press in 2023.

Thus far, the book was awarded:

  • The Environment Best Book Prize of 2023presented by the Latin America Studies Association (LASA) Environment section — for a book published in 2023.
  • 2024 Best Book in Amazonian Studies, presented by the LASA Amazonia section.
  • Roberto Reis Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) First Book Award. This award recognizes the best books in Brazilian Studies published in English that contribute significantly to promoting an understanding of Brazil.
  • Best Book in Latin American Visual Culture Studies, presented by LASA’s Visual Culture Studies Section (co-winner).

The cover of the book Traces of the Unseen.
Traces of the Unseen examines the role of photography in capturing the destructive processes of infrastructure development in Brazil.

Traces of the Unseen examines the role of photography as visual evidence of the destructive processes of infrastructure development and extractive capitalist expansion in the Amazon and outside Brazil’s urban centres. Sá Carvalho explores how photographs of violence were framed, captioned, cropped, and circulated to teach increasingly interconnected urban audiences how to interpret them within the larger context of capitalist modernization.

“I was so surprised, and of course honoured, to receive these awards,” says Sá Carvalho. “The process of writing and publishing a book is so long that, when it is completed, it feels like it belongs to the past. It is gratifying to see the book taking its own life, being read and resonating with colleagues in different disciplines.

“I hope that these awards reaffirm the value of working across disciplines to examine how we respond to political and environmental violence and how images help shape our political imagination.”

Sá Carvalho frequently writes about modern Latin American arts, photography, film, and literature, with a focus on Brazil, coloniality, visual culture, infrastructure studies, and the environmental humanities. She is currently working on a book-length project on mosquitoes and the aesthetics and politics of contagion in 20th and 21st-century Brazil.