Publication Date

January 13, 2010

The AHA’s General Meeting took place on Friday, January 8, 2010 at this year’s annual meeting. During this time the presentation of awards to recipients of AHA prizes took place, and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gave her presidential address. Read on for an overview of the address and a list of all the award winners.

A Stitch in Time: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Turns a Quilt into a Rich Tapestry of History

She found it useful sometimes to address large questions by focusing on a single object, said President Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, delivering her presidential address entitled "An American Album.” The object in question was a simple quilt, made in the Utah territory in 1857. But she unfolded it to lucidly tell a complex historical tale of patriarchal politics, ideologies, and religious beliefs. Originally made in the same epochal year as the Dred Scott decision and the mutiny in India, the quilt was sundered into two when it was passed on 60 odd years later as a legacy to the next generation. Only after another hundred years had passed by was it made whole again by a descendant who not only joined the two halves, but also gathered details about the women who had contributed to the making of the quilt. Work of such amateur historians and genealogists was valuable and should be acknowledged, said Ulrich, who then went on to stitch those details into her own reading of the quilt. Taking a close look at some of the quilt’s many and variegated squares, Ulrich delighted the audience with insightful and perceptive revisionings of what the quiltmakers inscribed into the fabric, situating the new, seemingly simple, but elaborate narratives into histories of interpersonal relations, of the Mormon Church, and of public reactions to polygamy and the politics of gender. The address, which will appear in the February 2010 issue of theAmerican Historical Review, was another captivating example of Laurel Thatcher’s remarkable ability of taking a simple object and transforming it into an artifact of compelling historical interest and narrative power.

2009 Book Awards and Prizes
The following prizes were announced at the General Meeting. For this list, expanded to include citations and some biographies see the 2009 Book Awards and Prizes page on the AHA web site.

Book Prizes

  • Herbert Baxter Adams Prize
    Priya Satia, Stanford University
    Spies in Arabia: The Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain’s Covert Empire in the Middle East (Oxford University Press)
  • George Louis Beer Prize
    William I. Hitchcock, Temple University
    The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe (Free Press)
  • Albert J. Beveridge  Award
    Karl Jacoby, Brown University
    Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History (Penguin Press)
  • James Henry Breasted  Prize
    Zainab Bahrani
    , Columbia University
    Rituals of War: The Body and Violence in Mesopotamia (Zone Books, distributed by MIT Press)
  • John H. Dunning Prize
    Peggy Pascoe, University of Oregon
    What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford University Press)
  • John Edwin Fagg Prize
    Stuart B. Schwartz
    , Yale University
    All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World (Yale University Press)
  • John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History
    Klaus Mühlhahn, Indiana University
    Criminal Justice in China: A History (Harvard University Press)
  • Morris D. Forkosch Prize
    Christopher Otter, Ohio State University
    The Victorian Eye: A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800–1910 (University of Chicago Press)
  • Leo Gershoy Award
    Stuart B. Schwartz
    , Yale University
    All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World (Yale University Press)
  • J. Franklin Jameson Prize
    Jean Fagan Yellin, Pace University
    The Harriet Jacobs Family Papers (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History
    Peggy Pascoe, University of Oregon
    What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford University Press)
  • Littleton-Griswold  Prize
    Laura F. Edwards, Duke University
    The People and Their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South (University of North Carolina Press)
  • J. Russell Major Prize
    Rachel G. Fuchs, Arizona State University
    Contested Paternity: Constructing Families in Modern France (Johns Hopkins University Press)
  • Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize
    Thomas J. Kuehn, Clemson University
    Heirs, Kin, and Creditors in Renaissance Florence (Cambridge University Press)
  • George L. Mosse Prize
    Stuart B. Schwartz, Yale University
    All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World (Yale University Press)
  • James  A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History
    Maria-Elena Martinez, University of Southern California
    Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford University Press)
  • Wesley-Logan Prize
    Alexander X. Byrd, Rice University
    Captives and Voyagers: Black Migrants across the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic World (Louisiana State University Press)

Awards for Scholarly Distinction

  • Saul Friedländer, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Leon Litwack

Eugene Asher Teaching Award

  • Brad D. Lookingbill, Columbia College of Missouri

Beveridge Family Teaching Prize

  • Oral History Project, D.C. Everest High School, Weston, Wisconsin.

Extraordinary Service Award

  • Elise Lipkowitz, University of Michigan

Herbert  Feis Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public History

  • Noel J. Stowe, Arizona State University

William Gilbert Award  for the Best Article on Teaching History

  • Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona
    “An Undergraduate and Graduate Colloquium in Social History and Biography in the Modern Middle East and North Africa” in Teaching Life Writing Texts, Modern Language Association.

John E. O’Connor Film Award

  • Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness. Producers: Llewellyn Smith, Vincent Brown, and Christine Herbes-Sommers. Co-production of Vital Pictures and the Independent Television Service.

Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award

  • Lynn Hunt, UCLA

Roy Rosenzweig Fellowship for Innovation in Digital History

Honorary Foreign Member

  • Romila Thapar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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