The Modern Language Association of America awarded one of its top prizes to Rutgers-Newark professor  Belinda Edmondson for her book “Creole Noise: Early Caribbean Dialect, Literature and Performance.’’

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for African Studies is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in African or African diaspora literary or linguistic studies. 

Edmonson's book, published by Oxford University Press, examines the multiracial origin of the Creole dialect and it transnational influences, along with its history in musical performance and literature. Edmonson, a distinguished professor of English and Africana Studies, also places Creole in the context of the often violent events of the 19th-century: slavery, indentureship, emancipation and immigration.

“Edmondson provides a captivating story of the language…between classes, racial groups, and ethnicities and traces its diasporic crossing from Jamaica to Harlem,’’ the association stated in its announcement. "Superbly written, the book is also carefully calibrated. Edmondson demonstrates a mastery of the historical evolution of criticism in the field, and her astute balance of archival work, literary history, and interpretation stands out as an enthralling example of the power and scope of African diasporic scholarship at its best."

The Modern Language Association of America and its over 20,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Founded in1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy.