Institute for Humanities Research Book Award Ceremony

Event description

  • Academic events
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Campus life
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Free
  • Professional and career development

Professor Patrick Bixby's 'License to Travel: A Cultural History of the Passport' is the IHR 2023 Book Award Winner



Patrick Bixby , professor, School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, has been announced as the 2023 IHR Book Award recipient for his book, “License to Travel: A Cultural History of the Passport.”

The IHR Book Award celebrates outstanding writers whose contributions to the humanities change the conversation by fostering new directions for their discipline.

This surprising global history of an indispensable document reveals how the passport has shaped art, thought, and human experience while helping to define the modern world.
In “License to Travel,” Patrick Bixby takes the reader on a captivating journey from pharaonic Egypt and Han-dynasty China to the passport controls and crowded refugee camps of today. Along the way, you will:

  • Peruse the passports of artists and intellectuals, writers and musicians, ancient messengers and modern migrants. 
  • See how these seemingly humble documents implicate us in larger narratives about identity, mobility, citizenship and state authority.
  • Encounter intimate stories of vulnerability and desire along with vivid examples drawn from world cinema, literature, art, philosophy and politics.
  • Witness the authority that travel documents exercise over our movements and our emotions as we circulate around the globe.

With unexpected discoveries at every turn, "License to Travel" exposes the passport as both an instrument of personal freedom and a tool of government surveillance powerful enough to define our very humanity.


The two shortlisted titles this year are:

"Sonic Overload," Oxford University Press, by Peter J. Schmelz, professor, School of Music, Dance and Theatre. 

"Unshaven: Resistance and Revolution in Women's Body Hair Politics," University of Washington Press, by Breanne Fahs, professor, School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies,


This is a hybrid event of Institute for Humanities Research.

  • For in-person attendees, food and beverage will be provided.
  • For online attendees, Zoom link will be provided before the event.



Event contact

Victoria Day

Thursday, October 12, 2023


4:00 pm6:00 pm (MST)


RBH196, Ross-Blakley Hall