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Lifetime scholarly achievement of Lois Parkinson Zamora recognized

American Comparative Literature Association hosts special session on Latin American literature scholar's impact

University of Houston

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Credit: University of Houston

The American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) hosted a special session to honor the lifetime scholarly achievement of Lois Parkinson Zamora at its annual conference this spring.

An influential cultural and literary critic, Zamora has published pioneering studies on hemispheric American studies and modern Latin American literature. The ACLA session gathered together Zamora's collaborators and students to make presentations that celebrated her work and demonstrated its impact.

"Having your work discussed, as is the case here for Lois, is especially an honor," said Steven G. Craig, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. "It means that not only has the work been important, but that Lois' research has stimulated others and merits their attention. This is perhaps the highest accolade that can be accorded to a faculty member."

Zamora's preeminence as a scholar of the impact of magical realism on literature is recognized by her peers in academia and the general public. Zamora was one of eight international experts to share insights with Oprah Winfrey's Book Club as the club read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

Zamora's monographs and co-edited collections, "Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community" (with Wendy Faris), "Image and Memory: Photographs from Latin America, 1866-1994" (with Wendy Watriss) and "Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest" (with Monika Kaup) have become classics in their respective fields and seeded new work, the ACLA noted.

"We are so pleased that the work of Lois Zamora has been nationally recognized, but we are not surprised," Dean Craig said. "Lois has been an intellectually active member of our faculty community for a long time."

Zamora served as dean of UH's College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication 1996 to 1999 before the college was merged with social sciences college to become CLASS. During her administrative tenure, she encouraged the creation of The Forum on Law and Humanities and helped to establish the John P. McGovern Endowment for Family, Health and Human Values, as well as the Women's Resource Center, Junior Faculty Forum, The Writing Center, and several study abroad programs.

A tenured full professor in the Department of English, Zamora was awarded the John and Rebecca Moores Distinguished Professorship in 2007. She became the founding chair of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies in CLASS in 2011 a position she serves in now.

Zamora's research interests cross disciplinary boundaries, spanning literature, history, and art. She is the author of "Writing the Apocalypse: Historical Vision in Contemporary U.S. and Latin American Fiction" and "The Usable Past: The Imagination of History in Recent Fiction of the Americas." Both works examine the nature of historical imagination and its representations in contemporary U.S. and Latin American fiction.

The Association of American Publishers recognized her book, "Image and Memory: Photography from Latin America 1866-1994," as the best new art book of 1998.

Her book, "The Inordinate Eye: New World Baroque and Latin American Fiction," is an edited anthology of essays on the New World Baroque co-edited with Monika Kaup. It was awarded The Harry Levin Prize by the America Comparative Literature Association for the best book in comparative literary studies published during 2006 and 2007.

"Lois' academic achievements are especially noteworthy, Dean Craig said, "because she accomplished this work while also being an active builder of the University that UH has become."

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About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,900 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

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