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'Day of the Dead in the USA' wins U. professor multiple international awards

Regina Marchi, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies and associate professor in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, has written a second edition of "Day of the Dead in the USA," which has received international acclaim. – Photo by

Regina Marchi, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies and associate professor in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, was named an International Latino Book Awards (ILBA) Award Winning Author after her book, "Day of the Dead in the USA: The Migration and Transformation of a Cultural Phenomenon" received awards in two categories, according to a press release.

Marchi's book received the English-language book category award for "The Raul Yzaguirre Best Political/Current Affairs Book" and "The Dolores Huerta Best Cultural and Community-Themed Book," according to the release.

"It is a real honor because these awards are international," she said. "Over 4,500 Latino-themed books are judged by 221 international judges who are professors, librarians, journalists and publishers."

Marchi said her book covers generational shifts in Day of the Dead celebrations in the U.S., especially after their start as public artistic and cultural events in the 1970s with the Chicano civil rights movement in the U.S.

Before studying for her Ph.D. at the University of California—San Diego, Marchi said she was able to travel and witness cultural differences in Day of the Dead celebrations across various Latin American countries.

She said she also attended Day of the Dead events throughout the Northeast and Southwest of the U.S., in regions with increasing Latino demographics.

For her research, she said she studied cultures through ethnography by organizing numerous interviews, candid conversations and photographs with individuals, studying the history of traditional celebrations in Latin America, and analyzing media exposure of how the holiday is celebrated in the U.S.

After publishing her research for her Ph.D. dissertation, Marchi signed a book contract with Rutgers University Press and published her first book in 2009.

Marchi said the publisher agreed on a second edition of the book with information on how Day of the Dead celebrations had continued to change as the first book gained attention.

"The book has new sections and about 50 percent new material from the first edition since the celebration (has) grown increasingly popular and increasingly politicized and commercialized since the first book was published," she said about the second edition.

The second edition incorporates Marchi's ethnographic research, historical background and cultural study to explain how the celebration and festivities have become increasingly politically and commercially polarized, according to the release.

The ILBA honors for the book will help Marchi's professional goals as she said they bring more attention to the book, which increases the likelihood of schools, libraries and professors buying it for educational purposes.

"In the past two weeks, I've been interviewed about my book by the New York Times, Woman's Day Magazine, CBS News, The Arizona Republic, Axios and Mossaic at NJ.Com," Marchi said. "I've also done multiple interviews over the years for NPR affiliates and newspapers or magazines in Norway, Italy, the UK, Ireland, Canada and elsewhere."

Marchi said the attention from the book also aids the University as the interviews and media attention improve its reputation as a leading research institution.

"Like all professors at research universities, I'm dedicated to conducting research, teaching my students and sharing my research via public talks and media interviews like this one," she said.

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