Publication Date

March 1, 2004

Perspectives Section


Jay P. Corrin, chairman of the Division of Social Science in the College of General Studies at Boston University, received the American Catholic Historical Association's John Gilmary Shea Prize at the ACHA's 84th annual meeting (held in conjunction with the AHA's 118th annual meeting) for his book Catholic Intellectuals and the Challenge of Democracy, (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2002). The committee of judges unanimously decided that Corrin’s book is the best of the works on the history of the Catholic Church broadly considered that were entered in the competition last year, and declared that Corrin’s book “is an impressively broad, insightful analysis that persuasively demonstrates the breadth, complexity, and diversity of European Catholic thought in the century preceding Vatican Council II. Focusing on a variety of political concerns during the era-from the diverse responses to industrialization and its concomitant upheavals, through the competing claims of capitalism, socialism, fascism, distributism, and modernity, Corrin displays a familiarity with both major and less familiar thinkers and actors who collectively enliven his account. The result is a work that will be valued by scholars, even as it remains accessible to the educated general reader. Corrin has made an important contribution to political and intellectual history, as well as to modem Catholic historiography.”

The prize is named in memory of the famous historian of American Catholicism, John Gilmary Shea (1824–92) and is partially funded by a bequest of the Reverend John Whitney Evans of the College of Saint Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota. It is given each year to the American or Canadian author who, in the opinion of a committee, has made the most original and significant contribution to the historiography of the Catholic Church in the form of a book published during the previous 12-month period ending June 30.

Jay P. Corrin received a BA degree from Michigan State University in 1966 and an MA degree with a major in Asian history and a minor in modem European from the University of Hawaii in 1968. He received the PhD degree in 1976 with a dissertation entitled "Chesterbelloc and the Distributist Circle," which was a study of the social and political views of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc and their impact on 20th-century British political thought. Previous books of his are G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc: The Battle against Modernity (Ohio Univ. Press, 1981) and Modernization and Revolution in China, with June Grasso and Michael Kort (M. E. Sharpe, 1991). Currently he is doing research for a book on radical Catholics and the New Left in the 1960s.

The association conferred its 29th annual Howard R. Marraro Prize on Joanna H. Drell, assistant professor of history in the University of Richmond. She was honored for her bookKingship and Conquest: Family Strategies in the Principality of Salerno during the Norman Period, 1077–1194 (Cornell Univ. Press, 2002). The judging committee declared that Drell’s well crafted study richly expands understanding of the ways a dominant family and kinship group could assimilate itself successfully in a world remote from its geographical origins.

Joanna Drell received her BA degree (magna cum laude) from Wellesley College in 1987 and her AM and PhD degrees in history from Brown University in 1988 and 1996. The University of Pennsylvania Press will publish next fall a book that she has coedited under the title Medieval Italy: A Documentary History. She is engaged in research for another book, which will be titled “The Construction of Mediterranean Identity: The Kingdom of Southern Italy and Sicily.”

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