Publication Date

December 6, 2023

Perspectives Section

AHA Annual Meeting

The following is a list of recipients of the various awards, prizes, and honors that will be presented during the 137th annual meeting of the American Historical Association on Thursday, January 4, 2023, in the Cyril Magnin I&II of the Parc 55 hotel.

2023 Awards for Scholarly and Professional Distinction


Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Harvard University

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, a pioneering and distinguished scholar of African American women’s history, is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, where she has served as chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the first African American to chair the Department of History.

Higginbotham is the author of the groundbreaking and prizewinning book Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920, which won the 1993 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize of the AHA. The publication of Righteous Discontent marked a critical turning point in the field of African American women’s history and its theorization and has had a defining influence on generations of scholars. Here Higginbotham coined the term “politics of respectability” to describe the strategy for racial uplift and political advancement adopted by the Women’s Convention of the Black Baptist Church. She is also co-editor with Henry Louis Gates Jr. of the 12-volume African American National Biography, which presents African American history through the lives of more than 5,000 biographical entries, and co-author with the late John Hope Franklin of the preeminent history of African Americans, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, first published in 1947 and now in its 10th edition.

Higginbotham has received many honors, notably the 2014 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama, “for illuminating the African American journey” and deepening “our understanding of the American story.” Her many other honors include election as national president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History from 2016 to 2021, and to the American Philosophical Society in 2009 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018. She holds the Distinguished Scholars Medal from the University of Rochester and honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Duke University, and Carnegie Mellon University. For her remarkable contributions to the field of history, she also received the James W. C. Pennington Award from the University of Heidelberg Department of Theology and the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (2013); the Inaugural Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (2012); the Legend Award from the National Urban League (2008); the Carter G. Woodson Scholars Medallion from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (2008); and the J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship (1985), awarded by the AHA and the Library of Congress. She was the inaugural John Hope Franklin Professor of American Legal History at Duke University (2010–11) and in 2022 was named a Living Legend by the Association of Black Women Historians.

Michael A. Gomez

Michael A. Gomez

Michael A. Gomez, New York University

A pioneer in linking the histories of Africa, the Islamic world, and the Americas, Michael A. Gomez has demonstrated uncommon breadth and originality over the course of his stellar career. Each of Gomez’s five books has made critical interventions in fields as widely diverse as medieval Africa, Black Islam in the Americas, early African America, and the worldwide African diaspora. His most well-known book, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1998), examines the evolution of politics, culture, and race in North America to around 1830. More than any other work before or since, Gomez’s text offers an eloquent and convincing history that centers the African past in the distinct context of North America. The book remains a foundational work in African diaspora history, a fulcrum that connects scholarship on African life and culture in the American South to ongoing debates about the making and practice of diaspora.

In addition to his extraordinary scholarship, Gomez has been an inspirational leader and institution builder throughout his career. Most notably, he was the founder of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) in 1999 and served as the organization’s president for the first eight years of its existence. During that time, Gomez grew the organization into what is now widely regarded as the premier intellectual home for scholars, artists, and activists with interests in the study of the global African diaspora. ASWAD’s biennial conferences have taken place in Africa, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Its 10th conference in 2019 included nearly 1,000 participants from 30 countries. In building ASWAD; producing innovative, field-bending scholarship; and mentoring young scholars, Gomez spearheaded the founding and flourishing of African diaspora studies, today one of the most vibrant interdisciplinary fields in academia.

Geoffrey Parker

Geoffrey Parker

Geoffrey Parker, Ohio State University

Prolific does not fully describe Geoffrey Parker’s remarkable scholarship that has resulted in more than 40 books and over 100 articles and book chapters. What characterizes Parker’s achievement is his ability to solve puzzles: to take bits of information from seemingly different spheres, to recognize patterns, and to make a coherent case to explain why things happened or failed to happen in the past. The most remarkable of the many puzzles he has solved can be found in his massive study, Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century, which analyzes the climatically induced crisis that caused the premature death of around one-third of the human population.

From the very beginning of his publishing career, he has been a trendsetter by denationalizing European history. The unifying task in many of his books has been to test the limits of state power in the Habsburg dominions, which stretched across Europe, northern Africa, and South and Central America, with outposts in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. His works have modeled how to achieve great global history that never loses sight of the sources. He is always aware of the fallibility of human actors, the vicissitudes of weather and transportation, and the interrupted transmission of information. These books include studies of Philip II, Charles V, the Spanish in Flanders, the Spanish Armada, the Dutch Revolt, the Thirty Years’ War, and his justly famous fundamental text on the military revolution. Besides his many awards, his influence may be measured by the 35 doctoral dissertations he has directed to completion.


Gábor Klaniczay

Gábor Klaniczay

Gábor Klaniczay, Central European University, Hungary

Gábor Klaniczay is perhaps the most respected medieval historian from east central Europe, someone who during the declining years of communist oppression became an intellectual force not only in Hungary but in the West. He has pushed scholarship in new directions through his curiosity about how people became saints, accepted miracles, embraced visions, and practiced healing magic and witchcraft. He has not, however, isolated himself in the intellectual safety of the Middle Ages but promoted free thought in Hungary as a long-standing member of the faculty and an administrator at Central European University (CEU), a private institution that has been a major force for an open society in opposition to the authoritarian regime of Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz Party.

Orbán has attempted to dismantle CEU to replace its tolerant liberalism with his Christian, conservative, and nationalist agenda. There is a profound irony that Hungary’s most distinguished historian of religion has fallen victim to Orbán’s attempt to crush free thought, but there is no irony in that the iconoclastic Klaniczay is east central Europe’s most prominent commentator on that iconoclastic American rebel Andy Warhol. In his commitment to contravene the traditional borders of history and his deep moral obligation to liberal democracy, Klaniczay is the true heir in our time of his illustrious medievalist predecessor and victim of the Nazis, Marc Bloch. He belongs among the august pantheon of recipients of the AHA’s Honorary Foreign Member Award.


Michael Les Benedict

Michael Les Benedict

Michael Les Benedict, Ohio State University

The Troyer Steele Anderson Prize honors historians who have “made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of the purposes of the Association.” The award is not offered annually, but rather upon the identification of an individual who has not merely performed “service” to the discipline but contributed in a way that has made a difference to the Association’s evolution, shape, and ability to respond to the needs of its members. The 2023 Troyer Steele Anderson Prize is presented to Michael Les Benedict for his service as the AHA’s parliamentarian for three decades (1988–2017).

As parliamentarian, Benedict worked behind the scenes with AHA officers and staff to develop and implement a series of fundamental revisions to the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws in response to a changing legal and cultural landscape, as well as a straightforward process of continued institutional learning. He also played an essential role at the annual business meeting, serving as the right hand for the presiding presidents and helping them navigate the complexities of parliamentary procedure amid controversy (often after spending additional hours beforehand preparing them for their role). His calm presence and assured mastery of parliamentary procedure helped maintain good order at many potentially contentious meetings. AHA staff often received comments about the quality of democratic process—a significant accomplishment given vigorous debates over content and process.

In addition to his role as parliamentarian, Benedict also served as an advisor on other legal matters, served for over a decade on the Association’s Task Force on Intellectual Property, and prepared the AHA’s A Historian’s Guide to Copyright (2012).


Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson, University of Kansas

While at the University of Sioux Falls, Stephen Jackson expanded the courses available to students and broadened the scope of topics to ensure the inclusion of historically missing voices. He served on a statewide working group to create a set of standards that featured disciplinary inquiry and inclusive content matter. His advocacy exemplifies the way the historical profession relies on community engagement in all corners of the United States to defend the integrity of history education.


Christopher W. Stanley

Christopher W. Stanley

Christopher W. Stanley, Ponaganset High School

Christopher W. Stanley’s class embarked on a project that combined elements of place-based inquiry, ongoing nested investigations, and interactions with the community. Engaging students in both primary and secondary sources, the unit investigated the history of the Nipmuc, a local Indigenous people. Students created historical markers and collaborated with Indigenous groups on a land acknowledgment ceremony. The project demonstrates the way that inquiry-driven history instruction can bring schools and communities into productive conversations that yield greater awareness and inclusion.


Donald Fixico

Donald Fixico

Donald Fixico, Arizona State University

Donald Fixico is a prolific and respected scholar of Native American and Indigenous 20th-century history. He draws on his own experiences as a first-generation Native American student from rural Oklahoma to excel as a mentor to underrepresented students. He has recruited dozens of students from underrepresented groups, including Black and Indigenous individuals. Fixico supports a community of scholars that includes his doctoral advisees, undergraduate students, underrepresented scholars, and fellow colleagues.


Adam Clulow

Adam Clulow

Adam Clulow, University of Texas at Austin

Adam Clulow’s contributions to public history include free historical video games, a virtual reality simulation of Angkor Wat, and interactive websites that bring digital tools to the traditional practice of historical inquiry. These deeply researched, innovative products are accessible to students of history at any age. Equally important, they engage users to explore legal, political, and moral issues encountered by Asians long ago. Clulow also offers a model for interdisciplinary collaboration as well as partnership with industry leaders in gaming.


Joe William Trotter

Joe William Trotter

Joe William Trotter, Carnegie Mellon University

Joe William Trotter’s record as a leader and institution builder engaged in the work of civil rights and social justice stretches back over 50 years to his days as an undergraduate student at Carthage College, when he served as a founding member and president of the Afro-American Society at this small, overwhelmingly white, Lutheran college south of Milwaukee. He has continued to be an exemplary leader since then.

Since 1995, Trotter has served as the director of the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) at Carnegie Mellon University. This center has served as the launching point for important community-based research, activities, and projects designed to enhance connections between the university and the wider community. The public lectures, teacher workshops, community archiving projects, and mentorship available to junior scholars through CAUSE are evidence of the powerful ways bold and rigorous scholarship can stand in service to civil rights and community groups and activists.

At the core of John Lewis’s work was the belief in fighting for a better future. Trotter’s vision for how history is a tool in the fight is stated so clearly in a 2019 interview in which he explained, “As a teacher, writer, and historian, I would like people to know me as someone who believes that history and historical scholarship is a great resource, open to all. It not only enriches and empowers our lives by connecting us to the struggles and triumphs of past generations, but it gives us hope for the future.”


Julieanna L. Richardson

Julieanna L. Richardson

Julieanna L. Richardson, The HistoryMakers

Julieanna L. Richardson is the founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers, an independent nonprofit organization that has created the largest collection of African American video interviews in the world. These videotaped oral histories are available to the public through a repository at the Library of Congress (since 2014) and cross a wide span of disciplines, encompassing nearly every aspect of public life.

Richardson, an attorney working in the cable industry in Chicago, established The HistoryMakers in 1999. Interviews have taken place over approximately two decades in a changing technological framework. What began as interviews with inexpensive film cameras and basic videotape technology has evolved into digital files with sophisticated transcription software developed in collaboration with innovative partners at Carnegie Mellon University. Although autobiographical in emphasis, the material also includes family lore, historical commentary, and other modes of reflection.

Nearly a decade ago, when The HistoryMakers was a much smaller collection with less technological sophistication, former AHA president John Hope Franklin observed, “I can think of no greater contribution to the future understanding of the past and present than what you, The HistoryMakers, are doing to provide this important recording of the words and work of true history makers.” A few years later, Lonnie Bunch, who would later become the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, offered a similar observation: “In a society that continues to favor those who have documented evidence of their value, The HistoryMakers’ videotaped oral history interviews stand often as the only comprehensive, in-depth, biographical account of key, important historical figures, organizations, and movements.”


Brittany Fremion

Brittany Fremion

Brittany Fremion, Central Michigan University

An associate professor of history at Central Michigan University, Brittany Fremion is an American historian who specializes in public health and the environment. Fremion’s recommenders highlight her empathetic and rigorous mentorship of students, her flexibility and innovations in course design, and her investment in projects that speak to her students about their own local histories.


Marvin Dunn

Marvin Dunn

Marvin Dunn, Florida International University

What most distinguishes Marvin Dunn’s contribution to historical literacy has been how he has grounded his response to recent racial violence in the long histories of racism in Florida, especially by preserving the memory of the Rosewood Massacre of 1923. The now lost town of Rosewood suffered a week of white mob violence that killed at least 100 people and wiped the prosperous Black community off the map. Dunn purchased five acres of land in Rosewood more than a decade ago to preserve the memory of the town’s racist-fueled destruction and now leads Teach the Truth tours on the property. His presence on the site provoked a white neighbor to attempt to run down Dunn and others with his pickup truck.

Tikkun Olam means “to repair the world,” and much of Dunn’s life has been devoted to exactly that. Indicative of the broad reach of his commitment beyond the usual confines of academe and teaching are his numerous published articles on race and ethnic relations in newspapers, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, and Miami Herald, and his several documentary historical films.

Such has been the rich life of a man who has done so much to repair the world through public service and the promotion of historical literacy about racial atrocities committed in Florida. As the attack indicates, the historical truth that he tells has had its own formidable power. He is a public historian who has risked his life to preserve the truth.



Clara E. Mattei, New School for Social Research

The Capital Order: How Economists Invented Austerity and Paved the Way to Fascism (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2022)

Modern austerity policies are typically defended as straightforward attempts to ensure fiscal solvency. In her reconstruction of austerity’s roots in interwar Europe, Clara E. Mattei reveals a very different picture of austerity’s actual aims and effects: austerity shores up economic privilege and compromises workers’ capacity to democratically contest the status quo. Mattei’s book stands out for its argument’s stunning clarity, its deep archival research, and its profound relevance to current public debates.


Kathryn Olivarius, Stanford University

Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2022)

Necropolis is a book for our moment that will be read for years to come. With arresting prose, Kathryn Olivarius reveals how yellow fever survivors worked to naturalize not only epidemic disease but slavery itself in 19th-century New Orleans. Olivarius’s concept of “immunocapitalism” powerfully explains the complex dynamics of the Cotton Kingdom. Rarely does a book propose a novel theoretical framework that also considers the historically specific intersections of capitalism, race, health disparity, and inequality.


Emily Marker, Rutgers University–Camden

Black France, White Europe: Youth, Race, and Belonging in the Postwar Era(Cornell Univ. Press, 2022)

Emily Marker’s highly original and field-changing work on education and youth programs in post–World War II France and Africa brings together two histories that have long been treated as separate: the origins of postwar European integration and decolonization. Her analysis of French attitudes and policies toward Black and white youth demonstrates how efforts to develop an inclusive model of European belonging gave way to a narrower, racialized vision that continues to define what it means to be European.


James Poskett, University of Warwick

Horizons: A Global History of Science (Viking, 2022)

James Poskett’s impressively readable Horizons is an original and capacious corrective to the Eurocentric narrative of the development of science since 1450. Euro-American prejudices, Poskett argues, created a systemic failure to acknowledge and recall non-European scientific contributions with consequences that continue to shape our world. By underlining the work of people in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, Poskett invites further research into the dependence of both science and its history on global exchanges often fraught with physical and epistemic violence.


Kirsten Silva Gruesz, University of California, Santa Cruz

Cotton Mathers Spanish Lessons: A Study of Language, Race, and Belonging in the Early Americas (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2022)

This erudite, confident, and methodologically sophisticated book approaches the entangled histories of British, Spanish, and Indigenous Americas through Cotton Mather’s overlooked book, Le Fe del Christiano, written to evangelize Spanish American readers. Drawing on extensive archival foundations and imaginative critical analyses, Kirsten Silva Gruesz weaves together histories of languages, the book, empires, subaltern (often enslaved) peoples, and Puritan New England to provide a stunning portrait of a “vast early America” that moves beyond colonial binaries to include Indigenous and Hispanic histories.


Xin Wen, Princeton University

The King’s Road: Diplomacy and the Remaking of the Silk Road (Princeton Univ. Press, 2022)

Xin Wen argues that the Silk Road was no mere retrospective metaphor but a trans-Asian corridor crisscrossed by envoys. To understand diplomatic travelers and the objects they brought along and exchanged, Wen mines a rich cache of manuscripts preserved in the oasis city of Dunhuang. The King’s Road persuasively argues that after the fall of the Tang, Tibetan, and Uyghur empires, political fragmentation augmented connectivity rather than hindering it.


Jacqueline Wu, Yale University

The Chinese Labor Experiment: Contract Workers in the Northeastern United States, 1870–1880,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 90, no. 2 (Spring 2023)

Faculty adviser: Joe William Trotter, Carnegie Mellon University

Jacqueline Wu’s essay examines Chinese laborers in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania during the latter part of the 19th century. Moving east of the Rockies, Wu argues that race and worker agency—as Chinese workers refused to fit into neatly ascribed stereotypes of docility and subservience—led to the decline of the Chinese labor experiment in the Northeast. This is an outstanding essay that demonstrates a masterful use of primary sources, an impressive engagement with the secondary literature, and prose that is clear and sharp.


Wei Yu Wayne Tan, Hope College

Blind in Early Modern Japan: Disability, Medicine, and Identity (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2022)

Blind in Early Modern Japan is a pathbreaking study that reveals the multifaceted meanings of blindness and sightedness as entangled aspects of lived experience in Tokugawa society. Writing in a gentle and thoughtful voice, Wei Yu Wayne Tan deftly weaves together insights from disability studies and history of medicine with rigorous social and institutional history. This is a book that transports us to the past yet all the while speaks to our present moments of embodied precarity.


Yumi Kim, Johns Hopkins University

Madness in the Family: Women, Care, and Illness in Japan (Oxford Univ. Press, 2022)

Yumi Kim’s Madness in the Family is an innovative study that skillfully uses both ethnographic and archival material to show how gendered notions of space, domestic labor, and family politics shaped the treatment of mental illness in Japan starting in the early modern period. In the Tokugawa period, women and their families were the main caregivers of mentally ill kin, and this continued to be true even after modern custody laws required that families register those confined at home with local officials and modern medicine focused on treating individual patients.


Steven King, Nottingham Trent University; Paul Carter, National Archives, UK; Natalie Carter, Nottingham Trent University; Peter Jones, University of Glasgow; and Carol Beardmore, Open University

In Their Own Write: Contesting the New Poor Law, 1834–1900 (McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press, 2022)

Elegantly written, provocative, and persuasive,In Their Own Write changes the way we understand the New Poor Law and, more broadly, the experiences of the poor in Victorian Britain. Grounded in a staggering body of archival evidence and taking full advantage of its co-authors’ diverse areas of expertise, this study recovers the voices of poor Britons themselves, foregrounding their own perspectives, hopes, and fears and, ultimately, revealing their surprising agency in shaping the welfare process.


Meredith Martin, New York University, and Gillian Weiss, Case Western Reserve University

The Sun King at Sea: Maritime Art and Galley Slavery in Louis XIV’s France (Getty Research Inst., 2022)

An original and deeply researched study, The Sun King at Sea brings to light the little-known galley enslavement of Muslims in early modern France, showing how royal propagandists used both the labor and the representation of enslaved “Turks” to exalt Louis XIV’s image and power. Through its impressive command of scholarship, multiplicity of sources, and collaborative method of inquiry by a historian and an art historian, this book exemplifies interdisciplinary historical work at its best.


Michael P. Marino, College of New Jersey

“Rethinking Historical Thinking: How Historians Use Unreliable Evidence,” The History Teacher 55, no. 2 (February 2022)

In “Rethinking Historical Thinking,” Michael P. Marino examines the novice-expert gap to reassess historical evidence. Marino recruited professional historians, graduate students, and AP high school students to analyze how they used unreliable evidence. He observes that historians and graduate students tend to find creative ways to use this evidence, while high school students get stuck and end up paraphrasing or summarizing it. Marino proposes emphasizing creative and abstract thinking to help students think like historians.


Kevin Terraciano, University of California, Los Angeles

Codex Sierra: A Nahuatl-Mixtec Book of Accounts from Colonial Mexico(Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2021)

Codex Sierra is a beautiful critical edition of a 16th-century account book written in the Nahuatl alphabet. Kevin Terraciano employs impressive, specialized skill to make this text available to English speakers—transcribing, translating, annotating, and reproducing in vibrant color one of the earliest known texts of a Native language. By detailing production and consumption in Santa Catalina Texupan, Terraciano illuminates the material culture of religion, politics, and daily life among Indigenous peoples within the Spanish Empire.


Brian P. Owensby, University of Virginia

New World of Gain: Europeans, Guaraní, and the Global Origins of Modern Economy (Stanford Univ. Press, 2022)

New World of Gain retells the history of colonial encounter between Europeans and Guaraní as a dialectic of gain and mutuality. Brian P. Owensby uncovers how contrasting notions of the moral significance of economic exchanges shaped local negotiations about labor and goods and prompted important changes in imperial institutions and in global philosophical debates. This ambitious, deeply researched, precisely written, and innovative book promises to deeply impact the historiography of multiple regions and periods.


Kerri K. Greenidge, Tufts University

The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family (W. W. Norton, 2022)

In this sweeping, innovative, and highly original book, Kerri K. Greenidge reintroduces us to the Grimkes. Her impressive research draws attention to white and Black members of the family from the 18th to the 20th century. The family’s history illuminates the Black and white experience of both the abolition movement and Reconstruction. Her engaging and compelling account of the Grimkes shows how Black struggles for freedom and human dignity shaped a family and a nation.


Paul S. Landau, University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Johannesburg

Spear: Mandela and the Revolutionaries (Ohio Univ. Press, 2022)

Spear offers a riveting account of efforts to stoke revolutionary violence in South Africa during the early 1960s. Drawing on an astonishing array of sources, Paul S. Landau follows Nelson Mandela and his colleagues in intimate detail as they sought to build local and international support and organize armed struggle against apartheid. The result is a revealing view of the world as South Africa’s revolutionaries saw it at the time, and an original narrative about the possibilities and constraints of revolutionary movements.


William J. Novak, University of Michigan

New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State (Harvard Univ. Press, 2022)

New Democracy is an exhaustive (yet never exhausting) rethinking of the struggle over the functions and capacity of modern US governance during the 75 years after the Civil War. William J. Novak convincingly shows that both state and federal governments reconceptualized the role of the state during this rebirth of the republic, to focus on public utility and the public good, reconstructing administrative structures decades before the New Deal. A field-defining study, it demonstrates such state building was bold, expansive, and democratic.


Sara E. Black, Christopher Newport University

Drugging France: Mind-Altering Medicine in the Long Nineteenth Century (McGill-Queen’s Univ. Press, 2022)

Sara E. Black’s beautifully written, pathbreaking book presents a fascinating history of how mind-altering drugs were developed and normalized in France and elsewhere over the long 19th century. Through innovative use of official statistics, medical treatises, and laboratory observations, Black shows how the standardization and industrialization of psychotropic drugs legitimated medical practitioners’ authority and transformed ordinary individuals’ sense of how to manage life’s miseries and discomforts.


Diana Garvin, University of Oregon

Feeding Fascism: The Politics of Women’s Food Work(Univ. of Toronto Press, 2022)

Diana Garvin’s study employs an innovative array of largely untapped sources, including from material culture and company archives. Ranging from the tabletop to the fields, from the kitchen to the factory, and from the molecular to the macroscopic, fascist alimentary initiatives relied on women as cooks, workers, entrepreneurs, and mothers. Complicating state-centric understandings of fascism, Garvin illuminates the central roles played by both female and nonstate actors in the food work demanded by the regime.


Pamela H. Smith, Columbia University

From Lived Experience to the Written Word: Reconstructing Practical Knowledge in the Early Modern World(Univ. of Chicago Press, 2022)

In From Lived Experience to the Written Word, Pamela H. Smith masterfully situates the culture of skilled craftsmanship in early modern Europe at the intersection of material practices and written texts. Inspired by years of experiential learning and teaching, in a book supported by beautiful illustrations, the author brings to life the materials and techniques of early modern metalworking and the challenge of putting artisanal knowledge into words.


Documentary:The Soldier’s Opinion: A Film by Assaf Banitt and Shay Hazkani

Assaf Banitt, director and producer; Shahar Ben-Hur, producer; Shay Hazkani, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, writer (JMT Films, 2022)

The Soldier’s Opinion, which grew out of Shay Hazkani’s bookDear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War (Stanford Univ. Press, 2021), is a cultural and psychological history of the inner lives of Israeli soldiers and the censors ordered to document their morale in letters home across five decades of war and occupation. We are privy to surprising responses to violence and to outbursts of racism as the soldiers (and their censors) struggle with difference, moral doubt, and feelings of shame. The film offers insights into Israeli society, Zionism, war, military cultures, and settler cultures.


Janet Afary, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Kamran Afary, California State University, Los Angeles

Mollā Nasreddin: The Making of a Modern Trickster, 1906–1911 (Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2022)

This is a pathbreaking study of the tenuous existence in the early 20th century of the extraordinary anticolonial, cosmopolitan, and feminist periodical Mollā Nasreddin, influential across the ethnically diverse South Caucasus region, that aimed to reform Islam with modernist critiques of clerical authority and political corruption. The magnificently illustrated study culminates two decades of multilingual research by the authors in Baku, Tiflis, Munich, Moscow, and Tehran, with scholars and translators in Europe and the South Caucasus.


Adriana Chira, Emory University

Patchwork Freedoms: Law, Slavery, and Race beyond Cuba’s Plantations (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2022)

In 19th-century Santiago de Cuba, Afro-descended peasant communities used colonial-era legal custom to negotiate land access and freedom, bit by bit. This beautifully written and methodically researched book elegantly demonstrates how local ideas about race, manumission, and freedom were shaped in relationship to Atlantic processes. Patchwork Freedoms offers a new methodological framework for scholars of slavery and freedom studying spaces beyond plantation economies and large urban centers of the Atlantic world.


Shailaja Paik, University of Cincinnati

The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India (Stanford Univ. Press, 2022)

Shailaja Paik’s Vulgarity of Caste is a powerful work inspired by a moral imagination. Centering the life stories of Tamasha women, Paik reveals their willful agency and pursuit of legitimacy and manuski (dignity). Paik combines sophisticated theoretical discussion of caste, labor, sexuality, and gender, of “surplus women and caste slavery,” with comprehensive research methodology including oral history, ethnography, and the recovery of a sparse documentary archives to present this subaltern and marginalized community.


Emily Michelson, University of St. Andrews

Catholic Spectacle and Rome’s Jews: Early Modern Conversion and Resistance (Princeton Univ. Press, 2022)

In this wonderfully written book, Emily Michelson explores the role of Rome’s Jews in early modern Catholic conversionary sermons. Michelson highlights the everyday social impact on Catholic theology, as the Jewish community served as the object and audience—alongside many Christians—for these spectacles. Based on hundreds of untapped sermons, this captivating study teaches us that Jewish-Christian relations, not simply doctrine, helped shape early modern Catholic evangelization in an era that saw the global expansion of Catholicism.


Katherine McDonough, Lancaster Univ. and Alan Turing Inst. (ATI); Daniel CS Wilson, ATI; Kaspar Beelen, Univ. of London; Kasra Hosseini, Zalando Research; Rosie Wood, ATI; Andrew Smith, ATI; Kalle Westerling, ATI; Daniel van Strien, Hugging Face; Olivia Vane, The Economist; Jon Lawrence, Exeter Univ.; and Ruth Ahnert, Queen Mary Univ. of London and ATI

MapReader (Living with Machines, 2022)

MapReader contributes to a new methodology of distant viewing for maps by applying a computer vision pipeline to historical maps. This open-source software allows scholars to study maps at a large scale. The scholars who created this software have developed an innovative approach to computationally extracting information from digitized maps, while also publishing their approach as peer-reviewed scholarship.


Shannen Dee Williams, University of Dayton

Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle (Duke Univ. Press, 2022)

By centering the lives of Black Catholic nuns, Subversive Habits offers a groundbreaking perspective on freedom struggles in North America across the eras of Jim Crow, Black Power, and Black Lives Matter. Shannen Dee Williams’s exhaustive research reveals Black religious women working as educators, civil rights organizers, and liberation theologians to confront sexist, white supremacist structures within Catholicism and US society. In Williams’s skillful hands, Black nuns’ freedom dreams become an important site for excavating new dimensions of African diasporic history.

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Becky West
Rebecca L. West

American Historical Association