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Washington & Lee University English professor receives American Humor award for article

Courtesy of Washington & Lee University.

The American Humor Studies Association (AHSA) announced that Diego A. Millan, assistant professor of English and Africana studies at Washington and Lee University, will receive the Jack Rosenbalm Prize for American Humor.

Millan was recognized for his article “Joking at the Limits of Protest in Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go” that appeared in the September 2022 edition of the journal Studies in American Humor.

The Jack Rosenbalm Prize includes a $200 stipend, a one-year membership in the AHSA and paid registration for the next AHSA conference held July 10 to 12, 2024 in Saratoga Springs, New York. The prize is awarded to the best article on American humor produced by a pre-tenure scholar, graduate student, adjunct professor or independent scholar published in a peer-reviewed academic journal or a book.

“I admire so many of the past winners,” said Millan. “It is truly an honor to be included in the list of Rosenbalm recipients, especially for an article about one of my favorite authors. I first read ‘If He Hollers Let Him Go’ as an undergraduate and have loved reading and teaching Chester Himes ever since. I’m also thrilled to share this prize with Grace Heneks and her fantastic article.”

The contest is judged by a three-person committee appointed by the AHSA board. They praised Millan’s focus on humor as a novel approach to Himes and cited Millan’s clear writing, strong organization and skillful close readings.

“These are all skills that I center in my teaching, so it was especially encouraging to see them cited by the award committee,” Millan said.

Millan, a core faculty member for the Africana studies program, has been with the university since 2018 and recently received tenure and promotion to associate professor effective July 1, 2024. Millan holds a bachelor’s in English literature from Bowdoin College and earned a master’s and Ph.D. in English literature from Tufts University.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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