James Henry Breasted Prize Recipients
This prize, named in honor of James Henry Breasted, a pioneer in ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern history and president of the Association in 1928, is awarded for the best book in English on any field of history prior to the year 1000 CE. The prize was first awarded in 1985. Until 1999, it rotated annually among the following geographical areas: Near East and Egypt; Far East and South Asia; Africa, North America, and Latin America; and Europe.
2015 Breasted Prize
Nicolas Tackett, Univ. of California, Berkeley
The Destruction of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy (Harvard Univ. Asia Center)
Tackett’s strikingly original monograph explains the rapid disappearance of China’s bureaucratic aristocracy amid the Tang dynasty’s collapse in the late ninth century. Blending traditional analysis of texts such as poetry and tomb epitaphs with the novel methods and approaches of GIS mapping and social-network theory, Tackett composes a detailed, elegant sketch of an elite that long proved remarkably adaptable to the upheavals of the late Tang, even if it could not finally resist the destructive violence of rebellion.