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Sociology doctoral candidate wins American Book Award for history of Black Panthers

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Joshua Bloom

Joshua Bloom gives remarks during the Oct. 28 American Book Award ceremony.

Joshua Bloom, a UCLA doctoral candidate in sociology, received an American Book Award on Oct. 26 for a history of the Black Panthers.

Bloom, who is set to receive his Ph.D. from the UCLA College in December, shares the prize with co-author Waldo Martin, a UC Berkeley historian.

“Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party” (2013, University of California Press) traced the party’s evolution from local activism to a global movement devoted to anti-imperialism. Widely acclaimed, the 523-page analysis was called “a comprehensive history” by the New Yorker and “unique … in the scope and depth of its scholarship” by the Los Angeles Times.

Film producer and director David Fincher (“House of Cards,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Social Network”) and writer-director Carl Franklin (“Devil in a Blue Dress,” “Out of Time” and “One True Thing”) have optioned the book for a television series to air on HBO.

Bloom, Martin and the 17 other authors who were recognized for works of outstanding literary achievement received the award during a San Francisco ceremony. Past winners include Toni Morrison, Edward Said, Isabel Allende, bell hooks, Don DeLillo, Robin D.G. Kelley, Joy Harjo and Gary Snyder.

The award is administered by the Before Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit educational and service organization founded in 1976 and dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature. Recipients are nominated and selected by a panel of writers, editors and publishers who, according to the foundation’s website, represent the diversity of American literary culture.

Click here to view a video of comments Bloom made at the award ceremony.

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