Publication Date

March 1, 2002

Perspectives Section


The American Catholic Historical Association at its 82nd annual meeting (held in conjunction with the AHA's annual meeting in San Francisco) announced its book prizes. The John Gilmary Shea Prize was awarded to Katherine L. Jansen for her book, The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton Univ. Press: Princeton, 2000). The judging committee declared that Jansen’s book illuminated the creation and development of the cult of Mary Magdalen, a saint of central importance in the history of Catholic devotional life. “This is a deeply researched, carefully constructed, beautifully illustrated book that shows us the world of medieval Catholicism through one of its most prominent saints,” the committee stated.

Jansen, who received her PhD from Princeton University in 1990, has already received the Phi Alpha Theta Award for the best first book in the field of history for The Making of the Magdalen. She teaches at the Catholic University of America. She is working on a new book, “Blessed Are the Peacemakers: The Politics of Peacemaking in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy.”

The association's Howard R. Marraro Prize was conferred on Wietse de Boer for his book, The Conquest of the Soul: Confession, Discipline, and Public Order in Counter-Reformation Milan (E.J. Brill: Leiden, 2001). A study of the Milanese church under archbishops Carlo Borromeo, Gaspare Visconti, and Federico Borromeo, the book is noteworthy, the judging committee noted, “for its careful analysis of the practice and limits of sacramental confession, which in this era became ever more associated with the confessional box and new penitential techniques, as well as with clerical domination of civic life and lay resistance.” “This work illustrates the special significance of Milan as a hotly contested center for the spiritual and political future of Counter-Reformation,” the committee added.

Wietse de Boer received his PhD from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 1995. He teaches at Indiana University-Purdue University, and is currently writing another book that will be entitled "The Education of the Senses: Theories and Practices of Perception in Renaissance and Baroque Italy."

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