Award Winning Titles

Indiana University Press is proud that our books have received over 60 awards (and counting!) during the 2020-2021 calendar year. Many congratulations to our well-deserving authors!

Award-Winning Books

Birch Bayh

Commended: SPJ Best Non-Fiction Book Award

Birch Bayh

Making a Difference

Robert Blaemire

Discover the Remarkable Life of the Author of the 25th Amendment and Title IX: Birch Bayh

A remarkable history of one of the most legendary US senators of our time, Birch Bayh: Making a Difference reveals a life and career dedicated to the important issues facing Indiana and the nation, including civil rights and equal rights for women. Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, right before the Great Depression, Birch Bayh served more than 25 years in the Indiana General Assembly (1954–1962) and the United States Senate (1963–1981). His influence was seen in landmark legislation over his tenure, including Title IX, the 25th Amendment, the 26th Amendment, Civil Rights of the Institutionalized, Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act, and the Bayh-Dole Act. Bayh was also the author, chief Senate sponsor, and floor leader of the Equal Rights Amendment and successfully led the opposition to two Nixon nominees to the Supreme Court. Robert Blaemire profiles not only the prolific career of this remarkable senator but also an era when compromise and bipartisanship were common in Congress.

Socialist Heritage

Winner: Ed A Hewett Book Prize

Socialist Heritage

The Politics of Past and Place in Romania

Emanuela Grama

Focusing on Romania from 1945 to 2016, Socialist Heritage explores the socialist state's attempt to create its own heritage, as well as the legacy of that project. Contrary to arguments that the socialist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe aimed to erase the pre-war history of the socialist cities, Emanuela Grama shows that the communist state in Romania sought to exploit the past for its own benefit. The book traces the transformation of a central district of Bucharest, the Old Town, from a socially and ethnically diverse place in the early 20th century, into an epitome of national history under socialism, and then, starting in the 2000s, into the historic center of a European capital. Under socialism, politicians and professionals used the district's historic buildings, especially the ruins of a medieval palace discovered in the 1950s, to emphasize the city's Romanian past and erase its ethnically diverse history. Since the collapse of socialism, the cultural and economic value of the Old Town has become highly contested. Bucharest's middle class has regarded the district as a site of tempting transgressions. Its poor residents have decried their semi-decrepit homes, while entrepreneurs and politicians have viewed it as a source of easy money. Such arguments point to recent negotiations about the meanings of class, political participation, and ethnic and economic belonging in today's Romania. Grama's rich historical and ethnographic research reveals the fundamentally dual nature of heritage: every search for an idealized past relies on strategies of differentiation that can lead to further marginalization and exclusion.

Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community

Commended: Wayland D. Hand Prize

Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community

A Giving Heritage

Daniel C. Swan, Jim Cooley

Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community: A Giving Heritage explores how gift exchange, motivated by the values of generosity and hospitality, serves as a critical component in the preservation and perpetuation of Osage society. Authors, Daniel C. Swan and Jim Cooley collaborate with members of the Osage Nation to discuss this foundational cultural practice over two centuries and in multiple social contexts.


The book begins with an in-depth examination of the Mízhin form of marriage, which bound two extended Osage families together for economic, biologic, and social reasons intended to produce value and community cohesion for the larger society. Swan and Cooley then follow the movement of Osage bridal regalia from the Mízhin from of marriage into the "Paying for the Drum" ceremony of the Osage Ilonshka—a variant of the Plains Grass Dance, which is a nativistic movement that spread throughout the Plains and Prairie regions of the United States in the 1890s. The Ilonshka dance and its associated organization provide a spiritual charter for the survival of the ancient Osage physical divisions, or "districts" as they are called today. Swan and Cooley demonstrate how the process of re-chartering elements of material culture and their associated meanings from one ceremony to another serves as an example of the ways in which the Osage people have adapted their cultural values to changing economic and political conditions. At the core of this historical trajectory is a broad system of Osage social relations predicated on status, reciprocity, and cooperation. Through Osage weddings and the Ilonshka dance the Osage people reinforce and strengthen the social relations that provide a foundation for their respective communities.

Folk Illusions

Winner: Iona and Peter Opie Prize for Books on Children’s Folklore

Folk Illusions

Children, Folklore, and Sciences of Perception

K. Brandon Barker, Claiborne Rice

Wiggling a pencil so that it looks like it is made of rubber, "stealing" your niece's nose, and listening for the sounds of the ocean in a conch shell– these are examples of folk illusions, youthful play forms that trade on perceptual oddities. In this groundbreaking study, K. Brandon Barker and Claiborne Rice argue that these easily overlooked instances of children's folklore offer an important avenue for studying perception and cognition in the contexts of social and embodied development. Folk illusions are traditionalized verbal and/or physical actions that are performed with the intention of creating a phantasm for one or more participants. Using a cross-disciplinary approach that combines the ethnographic methods of folklore with the empirical data of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology, Barker and Rice catalogue over eighty discrete folk illusions while exploring the complexities of embodied perception. Taken together as a genre of folklore, folk illusions show that people, starting from a young age, possess an awareness of the illusory tendencies of perceptual processes as well as an awareness that the distinctions between illusion and reality are always communally formed.

Yiddish in Israel

Winner: JORDAN SCHNITZER BOOK AWARDS

Yiddish in Israel

A History

Rachel Rojanski

Yiddish in Israel: A History challenges the commonly held view that Yiddish was suppressed or even banned by Israeli authorities for ideological reasons, offering instead a radical new interpretation of the interaction between Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew cultures. Author Rachel Rojanski tells the compelling and yet unknown story of how Yiddish, the most widely used Jewish language in the pre-Holocaust world, fared in Zionist Israel, the land of Hebrew.


Following Yiddish in Israel from the proclamation of the State until today, Rojanski reveals that although Israeli leadership made promoting Hebrew a high priority, it did not have a definite policy on Yiddish. The language's varying fortune through the years was shaped by social and political developments, and the cultural atmosphere in Israel. Public perception of the language and its culture, the rise of identity politics, and political and financial interests all played a part. Using a wide range of archival sources, newspapers, and Yiddish literature, Rojanski follows the Israeli Yiddish scene through the history of the Yiddish press, Yiddish theater, early Israeli Yiddish literature, and high Yiddish culture. With compassion, she explores the tensions during Israel's early years between Yiddish writers and activists and Israel's leaders, most of whom were themselves Eastern European Jews balancing their love of Yiddish with their desire to promote Hebrew. Finally Rojanski follows Yiddish into the 21st century, telling the story of the revived interest in Yiddish among Israeli-born children of Holocaust survivors as they return to the language of their parents.