Publication Date

October 19, 2020

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities, Perspectives Daily

The American Historical Association is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020 prizes. The AHA offers annual prizes honoring exceptional books, distinguished teaching and mentoring in the classroom, public history, and other historical projects. Since 1896, the Association has conferred over 1,000 awards. This year’s finalists were selected from a field of over 1,400 entries by nearly 150 dedicated prize committee members. The names, publications, and projects of those who received these awards are a catalog of the best work produced in the historical discipline. Full citations for the 2020 prizes will appear in the December 2020 issue of Perspectives on History.


Awards for Publications

The Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for an author’s first book in European history from ancient times to 1815

Alexander Bevilacqua (Williams Coll.) for The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2018)

The George Louis Beer Prize in European international history since 1895

Emma Kuby (Northern Illinois Univ.) for Political Survivors: The Resistance, the Cold War, and the Fight against Concentration Camps after 1945 (Cornell Univ. Press, 2019)

The Jerry Bentley Prize in world history

Toby Green (King’s Coll. London) for A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2019)

The Albert J. Beveridge Award on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1492 to the present

Jeremy Zallen (Lafayette Coll.) for American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750–1865 (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2019)

ThePaul Birdsall Prize for European military and strategic history

Brandon M. Schechter (NYU-Shanghai and the Harriman Institute of Columbia Univ.) for The Stuff of Soldiers: A History of the Red Army in World War II through Objects (Cornell Univ. Press, 2019)

The James Henry Breasted Prize in any field of history prior to CE 1000

Charles Sanft (Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville) for Literate Community in Early Imperial China: The Northwestern Frontier in Han Times (SUNY Press, 2019)

The Albert B. Corey Prize, sponsored jointly by the American Historical Association and the Canadian Historical Association, for Canadian-American relations or on the history of both countries

Jamie Benidickson (Univ. of Ottawa) for Levelling the Lake: Transboundary Resource Management in the Lake of the Woods Watershed (UBC Press, 2019)

The Raymond J. Cunningham Prize for the best article published in a history department journal written by an undergraduate student

Jubilee Marshall (Villanova Univ., BA 2019) for “Race, Death, and Public Health in Early Philadelphia, 1750–1793,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies (Spring 2020)

The John K. Fairbank Prize for East Asian history since 1800

Eiichiro Azuma (Univ. of Pennsylvania) for In Search of Our Frontier: Japanese America and Settler Colonialism in the Construction of Japan’s Borderless Empire (Univ. of California Press, 2019)

The Morris D. Forkosch Prizein the field of British, British imperial, or British Commonwealth history since 1485

Tawny Paul (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) for The Poverty of Disaster: Debt and Insecurity in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019)

The Leo Gershoy Award in the fields of 17th- and 18th-century western European history

Margaret E. Schotte (York Univ.) for Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill, 1550–1800 (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2019)

The William and Edwyna Gilbert Award for the best article in a journal, magazine, or other serial on teaching history

Rien Fertel (writer), Elizabeth S. Manley (Xavier Univ. of Louisiana), Jenny Schwartzberg (Historic New Orleans Collection), and Robert Ticknor (Historic New Orleans Collection) for “Teaching in the Archives: Engaging Students and Inverting Historical Methods Classes at the Historic New Orleans Collection,” The History Teacher 53, no. 1 (November 2019)

The Friedrich Katz Prize in Latin American and Caribbean history

Marixa Lasso (Ministerio de Cultura de Panamá) for Erased: The Untold Story of the Panama Canal (Harvard Univ. Press, 2019)

The Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for women’s history and/or feminist theory

Saidiya Hartman (Columbia Univ.) for Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals (W. W. Norton & Co., 2019)

The Martin A. Klein Prize in African history

Abena Dove Osseo-Asare (Univ. of Texas at Austin) for Atomic Junction: Nuclear Power in Africa after Independence (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019)

The Littleton-Griswold Prize in US law and society, broadly defined

Sarah Seo (Columbia Law School) for Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom (Harvard Univ. Press, 2019)

The J. Russell Major Prize for French history

Joshua Cole (Univ. of Michigan) for Lethal Provocation: The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria (Cornell Univ. Press, 2019)

The Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian history or Italian-American relations

James Hankins (Harvard Univ.) for Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy (Harvard Univ. Press, 2019)

The George L. Mosse Prize in the intellectual and cultural history of Europe since 1500

Joan Neuberger (Univ. of Texas at Austin) for This Thing of Darkness: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terriblein Stalin’s Russia (Cornell Univ. Press, 2019)

The John E. O’Connor Film Award for outstanding interpretations of history through film

Documentary: Killing Patient Zero, Laurie Lynd, writer and director; Corey Russell, producer (Fadoo Productions)

Dramatic Feature: Harriet, Kasi Lemmons, co-writer and director; Debra Martin Chase, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, and Gregory Allen Howard, producers (Perfect World Pictures)

The Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize in the history of journalism

Vincent DiGirolamo (Baruch Coll., City Univ. of New York) for Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys (Oxford Univ. Press, 2019)

The James A. Rawley Prize for the integration of Atlantic worlds before the 20th century

Sophie White (Univ. of Notre Dame) for Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2019)

The Premio del Rey for early Spanish history

Thomas W. Barton (Univ. of San Diego) for Victory’s Shadow: Conquest and Governance in Medieval Catalonia (Cornell Univ. Press, 2019)

The John F. Richards Prize for South Asian history

Sheetal Chhabria (Connecticut Coll.) for Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay (Univ. of Washington Press, 2019)

The James Harvey Robinson Prize for a teaching aid

Hasan Kwame Jeffries (Ohio State Univ.) for Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2019)

The Dorothy Rosenberg Prize in the history of the Jewish diaspora

Tamar Herzig (Tel Aviv Univ.) for A Convert’s Tale: Art, Crime, and Jewish Apostasy in Renaissance Italy (Harvard Univ. Press, 2019)

The Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History to a freely available new media project

Elaine Sullivan (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) for Constructing the Sacred: Visibility and Ritual Landscape at the Egyptian Necropolis of Saqqara (Stanford Univ. Press)

The Wesley-Logan Prize in African diaspora history

Benjamin Talton (Temple Univ.) for In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

Awards for Scholarly and Professional Distinction

The Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award for outstanding postsecondary history teaching

Robert D. Johnston (Univ. of Illinois at Chicago)

Equity Awards for individuals and institutions that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups into the historic profession

Institutional: University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Department of History

The Herbert Feis Award for distinguished contributions to public history

Valerie Paley (Center for Women’s History, New-York Historical Society)

The Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award for teachers of history who taught, guided, and inspired their students in a way that changed their lives

Omnia El Shakry (Univ. of California, Davis)

The Honorary Foreign Member for a foreign scholar who is distinguished in his or her field and who has “notably aided the work of American historians”

Hartmut Lehmann, Germany

The Award for Scholarly Distinction to senior historians for lifetime achievement

David Levering Lewis (New York Univ.)

Leslie P. Peirce (New York Univ.)

David Warren Sabean (Univ. of California, Los Angeles)

Gabriella Virginia Folsom is the communications and operations assistant at the AHA.

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