Sophie Esch, an associate professor of Mexican and Central American Literature and Culture in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, won the 2019 Latin American Studies Association (LASA)-Mexico prize for best book in the humanities for her publication, Modernity at Gunpoint: Firearms, Politics and Culture in Mexico and Central America (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018).

German-born literary scholar Sophie Esch, Rice’s new assistant professor of Mexican and Central American literature and culture, first heard music from the Sandinista revolution during her undergraduate years in Berlin in 2003, when a friend from Chile copied them onto a CD. She was intrigued by the Nicaraguan revolutionary folk songs and within the year had visited the country itself. She couldn’t have known then that this unlikely encounter would spur her to learn about the region’s revolutionary and military legacy — a legacy that would one day be the focus of her first book.