Pamela Patton, associate professor and chair of art history SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has won the 2014 Eleanor Tufts Book Award from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies. Her 2013 book, Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain, was the unanimous choice for the national honor.
The Tufts Award was established in memory of noted Spanish art expert Eleanor Tufts, who taught at SMU from 1974 until her passing in 1991. The award honors a distinguished book, written in English, on the history of art or architecture in Iberia.
The judging committee wrote, “Patton’s engaging text examines the varied meanings of representations of Jews in the visual culture of the Reconquista. Original in its conception and compelling in its arguments, this book traces the ways in which the image of Spain’s Jews as ‘the other’ was transfigured by the cultural, political and religious agendas of its Christian rulers.… This publication met and surpassed the stipulated award criteria of ‘originality of conception, thoroughness of research, rigor of argument, brilliance of insight, significance of findings, and clarity of expression.’
“In sum, the book’s broad scope of inquiry and sophisticated interdisciplinary approach that draws on history, religion, and cultural studies make a significant and original contribution to the study of medieval Spanish art and Iberian studies as a whole. Its lucid and elegant prose made it a pleasure to read.”
Patton said she was greatly honored by the award, especially because she has a personal connection to Eleanor Tufts. “Just before she passed away, she was part of the committee that brought me to SMU as a Haakon Pre-Doctoral Fellow,” said Patton. “When I was subsequently hired as faculty, I took on several of her courses. So it’s a lovely bit of karma for me.”