Publication Date

February 1, 1994

Editor's Note: Despite a new date and a nationwide flu epidemic the 1994annual meeting had almost 4,100 in attendance. As noted in the sidebar below, the site of the Association's next meeting, scheduled for January 5-8, 1995, isstill to be determined.

1993 Awards for Scholarly Distinction

In 1984, the Council of the AHA established an award entitled the American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction. Each year the Nominating Committee recommends to the Council up to three names for the award, and the Council then selects up to three names from the list presented. Nominees are senior historians of the highest distinction in the historical profession who have spent the bulk of their professional careers in the United Stales. Previous awards have gone to Nettie Lee Benson, Woodrow Borah, Angie Debo, Helen G. Edmonds, Felix Gilbert, John W. Hall, Margaret Atwood Judson, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Gerhart Burian Ladner, Gerda Lerner, Edmund Morgan, Benjamin Quarles, Edwin O. Reischauer, Caroline Robbins, Carl E. Schorske, Kenneth M. Setton, Kenneth M. Stampp, Chester G. Starr, Sylvia L. Thrupp Strayer, Merze Tate, and George R. Woolfolk. Joining this distinguished group are Emma Lou Thornbrough and Brian Tierney. The following citations were read by President-elect Thomas Holt at the General Meeting:

"Emma Lou Thornbrough, professor emeritus of Butler University, is a pioneer in the field of African American history. She received undergraduate degrees from Butler University and the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. At Butler University, where she began her academic career in 1946, she was appointed MacGregor Professor of History in 1974. She also held the Flora Stone Mather Professorship at Case Western Reserve University in 1978.

''In 1957, Dr. Thombrough published The Negro in Indiana Before 1900, which still stands as the model of state-level studies of African American life. Similarly, her biography, T. Thomas Fortune: Militant Journalist (1971), serves as an important prototype of how to locate a life in its time. This pathbreaking study remains the definitive work on the role of black editors in the wider movement for African American rights. In addition to these books, Professor Thombrough published Since Emancipation: AShort History of Indiana Negroes, 1863-1963 (1963) and 1ndiana in the Civil War Era, 1850-1880 (1965). She also edited two volumes, one on Booker T. Washington (1969), and the other on Black reconstructionists (1972).

"Her service to the profession has included both her informal support of young scholars and her formal participation in associations. Through her prolific career and distinguished scholarship, her teaching, her mentorship of younger colleagues, and her service to the profession, Emma Lou Thombrough has gained recognition among those in African American history as one of the outstanding pioneers in the field. Honored by a scholarship in her name at Butler University, the AHA's Award for Scholarly Distinction offers us the opportunity to recognize the work and life of Emma Lou Thornbrough,"

"Brian Tierney is one of England’s most value gifts to historical scholarship in the United States. Born in 1922 and educated at Cambridge, he began his academic career in America at the Catholic University of America in 1951, moving to Cornell University in 1959 where he held two endowed chairs, the Goldwin Smith Professorship in Medieval History and the Bryce and Edith M. Bowman Chair in Humanistic Studies.

"Dr. Tierney has been a pioneer in showing connections between canon law and secular legal systems and political theories, between the medieval and the early modem chapters of their histories, and between their European and more global applications. Each of hismajor publications has combined a magisterial command of his materials with a fresh and original perspective. His first book, Foundations of the Conciliar Theory (I955, reprinted in 1970), demonstrated that the theories drawn upon by the churchmen who wrestled with the constitutional crisis in the church in the fifteenth century were developed centuries earlier by the canonists. Medieval Poor Law (1959), and Religion, Law, and the Growth of Constitutional Thought, 1150-1650 (1982), further developed the point that canon lawyers were sometimes well ahead of their secular opposites. Of all his books, however, Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150-1350 (1972, reprinted 1988), generated the most controversy, and at the same time displayed and vindicated Dr. Tierney’s own personal combination of the most rigorous standards of research and the most engaging modesty and lack of ego in the business of setting the historical record straight Dr. Tierney’s current research on the fortunes of the Aristotelian doctrine of the right to property inhering in human nature as such expands still more widely the ways in which he has shed light on the connections that bind medieval and modern, European and world history.

''Over the years, Dr. Tierney has received many honors, has been a visiting member at several institutions, and has twice been a Guggenheim fellow. In addition, he is a permanent member fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received honorary doctorates from Uppsala University in Sweden and the Catholic University of America. To these richly deserved honors, we are happy to add the AHA Award for Scholarly Distinction in recognition of his outstanding contribution to historical scholarship."

Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award

While the AHA has traditionally recognized outstanding scholarship, for over a hundred years there was no prize honoring teaching. In 1986, the AHA's Teaching Division recommended and the Council approved the establishment of an annual award to recognize both excellence in teaching and knowledge of the subject of history. The award isgiven jointly by the AHA and the Society for History Education (SHE) and is named for the late Eugene Asher, former executive secretary of SHE and for decades a central figure in efforts to improve the quality of history teaching. The Teaching Division oversees the selection of the recipient of the award; nominations are submitted by the previous year’s book prize winners. Each is invited to nominate one of his or her teachers, who by inspirational impact and excellence, encouraged that individual to study history. Eligible for consideration are school, undergraduate, and graduate instructors.

Natalie Zemon Davis, Princeton University, was awarded the 1993 Asher Award at the AHA's General Meeting in San Francisco. Dr. Davis was nominated by Suzanne M. Desan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, recipient of the 1992 Adams Prize. Dr. Desan read portions of her nomination letter at the presentation ceremony.

"I first had the pleasure of meeting Natalie Zemon Davis as her student in a senior seminar on 'histoire des mentalites' at Princeton in 1978. My first recollections of Natalie stand out vividly: her boundless enthusiasm, her deep personal warmth, her acute ability to make the past vivid and gripping. Natalie taught through flashes of insight and bursts of excitement. Her lucid formulations, infinite energy, and penetrating questions inspired the rest of us to new heights of intelligence and curiosity. Her creative use of anthropology and her constant theoretical probing helped me to understand how good historians operated.

"In Natalie's lecture course the next semester, I met the women of early modem Europe en masse. They came alive, as rioters demanding grain, as 'hysterics' suffering from 'wandering wombs,' as prophets voicing visions of the kingdom of God. Natalie's lectureswere action packed and vital.

"After I left Princeton, Natalie continued to provide encouragement and advice. For me, as for almost anyone whose field touches hers, she wascontinually sending citations as well as suggestions of people to meet. Much later, I chose to write an article analyzing and critiquing Natalie's crowd theory expressed in the 'Rites of Violence.' I had the opportunity to give my paper with Natalie present True to form, just as she had been as my undergraduate teacher, she acknowledged my ideas but challenged me to think hard in certain ways. Later, she sent me a three-page letter of keenly analytical comments. Another scholar might have been defensive rather than engaged, closed rather than forthcoming. But Natalie Davis is the definition of an engaged and generous scholar. It is no surprise to me that she has worked on gift-giving inearly modern France.

"One of my colleagues recently was praising Natalie for her generous spirit of sharing ideas and sources with historians at all levels. He said, 'in some way we are all Natalie's students.' I agree with him, but I also treasure the experience that I had as her student in the classroom, exposed to the creativity and charisma that defines Natalie Zemon Davis's presence. I cannot imagine a teacher more deserving of the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award."

Robert A. Blackey, California State University, San Bernardino, and vice president of the Teaching Division, announced awards for honorable mention for 1993: to Cynthia Behrman, Wittenberg University, nominated by Kathryn Bernhardt, University of California, Los Angeles, recipient of the Fairbank Prize; to John Dizikies, University of California, Santa Cruz, nominated by Richard White, University of Washington, recipient of the Beveridge and Corey Prizes; to Donald Kelley, Rutgers University, nominated by Joseph Levine, Syracuse University, recipient of the Gershoy Prize; to Douglas K. Reading, emeritus, Colgate University, nominated by James A. Smith, Gilman Foundation, recipient of the Feis Award; and to Alice Birmingham Robinson, emeritus, Wellesley College, nominated by Nicole Jordon, Universityof Illinois, Chicago, recipient of the Beer Prize.

Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award

In recognition of Nancy Lyman Roelker's role as a teacher, scholar, and committed member of the historical profession, and on the occasion of her seventy-fifth birthday, friends, colleagues, and former students established the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. The annual award recognizes and encourages a special quality exemplified by Professor Roelker through the human component in her teaching of history.

Often called "companionate mentoring," it encompasses a belief in the value of the study of history and a commitment to and a love of teaching it to students regardless of age or career goals. Advising is an essential component, but it also combines a consistent personal commitment by the mentor to the student as a person. Offering a human alternative, frequently in quiet and unacknowledged ways, mentors like Professor Roelker believe that the essence of history lies in its human scope. With this award, the American Historical Association attests to the special role of mentors to the future of the historical profession.

The award is offered on a three-year cycle avoid competition among different levels of faculty mentorship. Nominations for the 1993 prize were for the undergraduate level The second Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award was conferred on Michael H. Ebner, Lake Forest College. President-elect Holt read the following citation:

"Your devotion to your students at Lake Forest College exemplifies the spirit of the teacher and mentor who cares for his subject and his students in equal measure.

"You guided, prodded, and inspired undergraduates in the classroom and in independent research American social history, settling for nothing but the best that each student could produce. In bringing the documents and statistics to life, you also brought life to me students, imbuing them with a self-confidence that carried over into their future work.

"Whatever their pursuits, you encouraged them with unflagging support in the years after graduation, helping with dissertations, career choices, and personal crises. The time and energy you gave them in college was repaid bytheir rising to the challenges you helped them to meet, both in their liberal arts education and in their lives.

"For your excellent example as a historian and teacher and your steadfast guidance as a friend and mentor, we are honored—on behalf of your students—to confer on you the second Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award."

John E. O'Connor Film Award

In recognition of his exceptional role asa pioneer in both teaching and research regarding film history, the American Historical Association established this award in honor of John E. o’ Connor, New Jersey Institute of Technology. The award seeks to recognize outstanding interpretations of history through the medium of film or video. Essential elements are stimulation of thought: imaginative use of the media; effective presentation of information and ideas; sensitivity to modem scholarship; and accuracy. The production should encourage viewers to ask questions about history interpretations as well as make a contributionto the understanding of history.

The first O'Connor Award was presented to Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl,the latest video documentary in the Who Built America! series produced by the American Social History Project at Hunter College-City University of New York directed by Pennee Bender, Joshua Brown, and Andrea Ades Vasquez. President-elect Holt read committee’s citation:

“The committee, mindful of its charge to recognize "imaginative use of the media and effective presentation," has chosen Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl for the first John E. O’Connor Film Award. The film made economically effective use of animation, dramatized readings of documents, contemporaneous music, and graphics in its portrayal of the shirtwaist strike of 1909 as seen from within the ranks of the women’s labor movement. Using an uncommonly rich historical and cinematic imagination, while remaining faithful to the spirit of their documents, the filmmakers have brought to life a defining moment in the women’s labor movement. Yet, as they dramatically evoked the significance of the period, they were also able to teach the viewer much of its historical substance. In this sense,Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl extended the documentary forminto anew level of accomplishment

Honorary Foreign Member

At its second annual meeting in Saratoga in 1885, the newly appointed Committee on Nominations for Honorary Membership introduced a resolution, which was adopted, that appointed Leopold von Ranke as the first honorary foreign member. In the intervening 107 years, only seventy-eight individuals have been so honored. Previously selected biennially, selection is now made annually honoring a foreign scholar who is distinguished in his or her field and who has ''notably aided the work of American historians."

President-elect Holt announced the addition of Martin Njeuma of Cameroon to the list of eighteen living honorary members.

Martin Njeuma attended undergraduate institutions in Lagos and Accra and went on to the University of London where in 1969 he was the first Cameroonian to gain a Ph.D. in history at a European university. He has been associated with the University of Yaounde since 1970, was made head of the department in 1974, Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences in 1979, and since 1981 has been professor of history. His fields of specialization include precolonial and colonial Cameroon history and the Islamic factor in Cameroon and Nigerian history. He has produced four books, including Introduction to the History of Cameroon in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.

There have been hardly any American scholars in the social sciences who researched in Cameroon from 1970 onward who did not enjoy the academic and social hospitality of Martin Njeuma. Often he put his countrywide acquaintances at their service, recommending historical sites, and orienting their archival studies at the National Archives where he was once director. Under Dr. Njeuma's direction, since 1971 all Fulbright scholars in the university's department have been fully included in the department's research activities. In addition, he has undertaken several collaborative projects with American historians to build up research resources in Cameroon. During twenty years of service as the single most important liaison between the American andCameroonian historical communities, Martin Njewna has influenced the lives of over a hundred American academics. It is therefore an honor to announce that through the presentation of this honorary foreign membership, all American scholars can call him a colleague.

1993 Book Awards

At the annual meeting in Son Francisco, the following prizes were announced for the year 1993. The committee's citations are recorded below:

Herbert Baxter Adams Prize

Charters Wynn, University of Texas at Austin, for Workers, Strikes, and Pogroms: The Donbass-Dnepr Bend in Late Imperial Russia, 1870-1905, Princeton University Press (1992). This closely argued and carefully researched study challenges prevailing interpretations of working-class unrest in Tsarist Russia, which portray a gradual consolidation of class consciousness and intraclass solidarity. Mr. Wynn’s subtle analysis shows how the living conditions and outlook of industrial workers both encouraged and limited revolutionary movements. He demonstrates that anti-Jewish pogroms were neither a coincidental by-product of labor unrest nor a holdover of ancient hatreds, but a direct outgrowth of new economic and political frustrations unleashed by the very revolutionary movements that were supposed to end divisions among Russian industrial workers.

George Louis Beer Prize

Christine A. White, Penn Stale University, for British and American Commercial Relations with Soviet Russia, 1918-1924, University North Carolina Press (1992). This work offers fresh insights into Anglo-American relations with Russia immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution. It demonstrates that, unlike official diplomacy, commercial ties survived ideological differences and indeed intensified by the mid-l92Os. Its extensive archival research, clear style, and illuminating perspective render this study essential in its field.

Albert J. Beveridge Award

James Lockhart, University of California, Los Angeles, for The Nahuas after the Conquest: Social anti Cultural History of the Indians of Central Mexico, Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries, Stanford University Press (1992). This remarkable book is the major piece in a constellation of works that have been changing our understanding of Mexico after the Spanish conquest represents the culmination of over a decade scholarship by Professor Lockhart and his students who have been engaged in a reexamination of history of an indigenous people of Mexico using primarily the sources produced by them in their own language. By tracing changes in the patterns of linguistic and philological change, Professor Lockhart suggests a four-stage process of change and adaption in the use of Nahuatl, the language of the “Aztecs,” which he suggests may also be a guide to pattern and process of change in many other areas of their social and political life under Spanish domination. A wide range of previously unknown or little used Nahuatl documentation is subjected to careful analysis of both content and form to produce a vision of the Nahua postconquest society in both public and private spheres. The impressive combination of painstaking linguistic and historical analysis, attention to detail and variation over time, sensitivity to indigenous distinctions of rank, political allegiance, and gender, and the ability of the author to keep the larger patterns constantly in mind result in an innovative and suggestive volume that has already reoriented the scholarship, much as Charles Gibson’s The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule did for the previous generation.

The Nahuas after the Conquest demonstrates that it is not enough to say that language is important or to purport to take the point of view of a romanticized “other,” but that the understanding of other cultures may often demand a serious historical study of their languages and means of expression and the careful reconstruction of their world view based on a broad range of historical documentation. This book is both a tribute to the advantages of interdisciplinary approaches and to innovative methods of analysis but also to the continuing validity of the traditional craft of the historian.

James Henry Breasted Prize

E. J. W. Barber, Occidental College, for Prehistoric Textiles, Princeton University Press (1991). Any scholar who has ever heard the phrase, ”the warp and weft of history,” will better understand the metaphor after reading E. J. W. Barber’s Prehistoric Textiles. The book brings together a knowledge of botany, animal husbandry, art history, classical studies, history, and anthropology to make an ordinary object, cloth, into a source of wonder as well as admiration for our ancestors. Though it concentrates on the ancient Mediterranean littoral, the book describes technologies that remained important into the nineteenth century of the Common Era. It also gives insight into the social dimensions of cloth making and, especially into the working lives of women who were so often responsible for producing the premodern world’s most significant manufactured commodity. Prehistoric Textiles accomplishes all those feats in a prose style that is clear and compelling. Having read the book, all historians, no matter what their period or topic of interest, will find that ever after they will look at a blouse, a shirt, or a skirt in a different way. If history is the web that Ariadne wove, then Professor Barber has done an invaluable service by pointing to the many material and social threads that are part of the garment.

John H. Dunning Prize

A. G. Roeber, University of Illinois at Chicago, for Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America, Johns Hopkins University Press (1993). From New York and Pennsylvania to Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, German Lutheran immigrants drew open and gradually transformed their inherited values as they fashioned their place in a new society and political culture. A. G. Roeber’s exhaustive and meticulous scholarship brings alive the complex processes through which a people reworked their understandings of their most fundamental tenets about the religious, social, and political meanings of property and liberty—their defining notions about personal identity and community relations. This richly textured study illuminates the ways in which migrants to North American colonies drew upon different cultural traditions even as they contributed to the forging of a new political tradition. As impressive in its command of detail as in its broad vision of the relations between the lives of specific people and the evolution of and interactions among political, religious, and legal traditions, this impressive study illuminates the very dynamics of colonial history.

Daniel H. Usner, Jr., Cornell University Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Before 1783, University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture (1992). Along the shores of the lower Mississippi in colonial America, French, British, and Spanish settlers were interacting with Native American Indians and African American slaves to create a frantic exchange economy in which they traded not only goods, but aspects of their discrete cultures in building a world that significantly differed from what any of them had previously known. Focusing upon everyday economic relations in this “backwater” colonial North America, Daniel Usner meticulously recreates a world of intercultural exchange by exploring the dynamics of local trade in the basic necessities of everyday life. And in bringing alive the tightening links among the disparate peoples, he brings to life a world along the banks of the Mississippi that transformed the river itself from a barrier between settlements into the central artery of their increasingly interdependent lives.

Taken together, Palatines, Liberty, and Property and Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy, vastly enrich our understanding of the complexity of colonial North American society and, especially, demonstrate the intricate economic, social, religious, legal, and cultural transactions that bit by bit resulted in the emergence of an American political culture in which all parties simultaneously influenced and were influenced by the other groups with which they shared space and resources. Thus these specific cases open a new window on the countless number of exchanges that resulted in the distinct character of the country as a whole.

John K. Fairbank Prize

Elizabeth Perry, University of California, Berkeley, for Shanghai On Strike, Stanford University Press (1993). Concisely and elegantly argued, Elizabeth Perry’s monograph offers an important analysis of how nationalism and national political issues can transcend workplace divisions in some times and places. Using new and exciting sources, the author observes and explains the interplay of native place, class, generation, and work life in a fresh and compelling style. This book merges politics and social history and transforms given understanding on modem Chinese development.

Stefan Tanaka, Clark University, for Japan's Orient Rendering Pasts into History, University of California Press (1993). Stefan Tanaka demonstrates how theory can be used to reconstruct a historical moment. He shows how Japanese scholars created a new discourse on China and Asia as a part of an effort to imagine a past for Japan that was both modern and distinct from the European and American paradigm. This fine monograph raises many fascinating issues concerning the academic role in shaping Japan’s China policy in the early twentieth century.

Herbert Feis Award

Edward E. Cohen, State Bancshares, Philadelphia, for Athenian Economy and Society: A Banking Perspective, Princeton University Press (1992). Edward Cohen’s Athenian Economy and Society offers a skillfully argued reassessment of the importance to fourth-century B.C. Athens of its banking sector. Through a careful reading of contemporary philosophers, playwrights, lawyers, poets, and commentators, Mr. Cohen persuasively demonstrates both the presence of a market economy and the significance of a dynamic banking community.

Edith B. Gelles, Institute for Research on Women and Gender of Stanford University, for Portia: The World of Abigail Adams. Indiana University Press (1992). Edith Gelles’s biography of Abigail Adams deftly fuses the eloquent letters of her subject with insights derived from a variety of disciplines, most notably feminist scholarship, to offer a multifaceted portrait of an autonomous Adams, worthy of study in her own right, and of the culture within which she lived.

Morris D. Forkosch Prize Robert Brenner, University of California, Los Angeles, for Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London'sOverseas Traders, 1550-1653, Princeton University Press (1992). Magisterial in scope, Robert Brenner’s Merchants and Revolution presents a dramatically innovative interpretation of the most pivotal event in English history. It impressively links social and economic themes with religious and constitutional ones, demonstrates the crucial role of foreign policy in the outbreak and course of the revolution, compellingly argues for the radical nature of the commonwealth, and firmly underscores the connection between English imperialism and seventeenth-century radicals. Merchants and Revolution will be essential reading for all future students of the English revolution.

Leo Gershoy Award

Jonathan Dewald, State University of New York at Buffalo, for Aristocratic Experience and the Origins of Modern Culture: France, 1570-1715, University of California Press (1993). This exciting book opens up a new vista on the French nobility and on modern culture. Jonathan Dewald takes frequently used sources and reads them in the light of both modem literary criticism and his profound knowledge of the milieu that produced them to rethink a major topic, the origins of modern culture. The author brings a new understanding from both fictional literature and letters and memoirs to the understanding of the self among seventeenth-century aristocrats. This graceful study of early modern men and women enriches our understanding and challenges our thinking about aristocratic lives and the much larger social and cultural world in which they took place.

Joan Kelly Memorial Prize

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Harvard University, for Righteous Discontent: The Women's Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920, Harvard University Press (1993). This richly detailed study challenges historians to rethink a period that witnessed both the brutal denial of African American rights and significant advances for women. Professor Higginbotham shows black women actively engaged in their own empowerment during this “best and worst of times.” They carved out their own discursive arena within the male-dominated church, elaborating a feminist theology and a ”politics of respectability that simultaneously stressed “self-help” and a more militant call for equality. Sensitive to nuances of class as well as those of gender and ethnicity, Professor Higginbotham offers a major contribution to the study of African American women.

Littleton-Griswold Prize

Christopher L. Tomlins, American Bar Foundation, for Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic, Cambridge University Press (1993). In Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic, Christopher Tomlins presents us with a remarkably innovative and finely detailed mapof the interaction of law and labor during the first half of the nineteenth century. Drawing on both the insights of postmodernism and the research methods of traditional legal history, Mr. Tomlins charts for us more clearly than ever before the pivotal roleof legal discourse in postrevolutionary American society.

Helen & Howard R. Marraro Prize

Edward Muir, Jr., Northwestern University for Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli during the Renaissance, Johns Hopkin University Press (1993). Edward Muir’s Mad Blood Stirringoffers readers original and thoroughly documented research that reads like an exciting novel. A small slice of history, this study of vendetta in Renaissance Friuli nevertheless advances our general understanding of patron-client networks, social dislocation, and Venetian governance of its subject cities. It is a model of methodological synthesis, combining social theory microhistory, and clear narration.

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