CHSS Distinguished Alumni - Faculty Award

Debra Lattanzi Shutika, MA English '93

Debra Lattanzi Shutika is a mystery writer and folklorist. Her academic work focuses critical race and sense of place in Appalachia and Ireland. She received a PhD and MA in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and 1999 respectively, and an MA in literature from Mason in 1993. 
She is author of Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico (2011, University of California Press), winner of the 2012 Chicago Folklore Prize. Her short story, “Mala Suerte,” appeared in Diamonds, Denim and Death (2019) and “Frozen Iguana” was published in the 2018 anthology Florida Happens.  “Mirrors” appeared in Richard Peabody’s Abundant Grace: The Seventh Collection of Fiction by D.C. Area Women. (2016). She is currently revising a novel.  

Lattanzi Shutika is the director of Watershed Lit: Center for Literary Engagement and Publishing Practice. She also directs Mason-Library of Congress Field School for Cultural Documentation. Her current research is an ethnographic study of community gardens in Washington, D.C., National Parks.