Publication Date

February 1, 2008

Perspectives Section


At its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., held on January 5, 2008, during the annual meeting of the AHA, the Society for Italian Historical Studies (SIHS) announced its awards for 2007.

The committee for the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History (Joanne Ferraro as chair, Kenneth Gouwens, and David Roberts), has awarded the Marraro Prize of the society for 2007 to Valerie Ramseyer's book, The Transformation of a Religious Landscape: Medieval Southern Italy, 850–1150 (Cornell Univ. Press, 2006). Based upon extensive archival research, this exceptional monograph, focused upon the Principality of Salerno, documents how a range of eclectic religious practices and institutions, drawn from both Greek and Latin Christianity, persisted beyond the era of Gregorian reform. Although the authority to reform derived from the papacy, which promoted uniformity, the region’s archbishop and the abbey of Cava had considerable autonomy in practice to shape and implement reforms in ways suitable for the distinct religious culture of Salerno.

The SIHS prize for the best unpublished manuscript for 2007 was awarded to Joshua Arthurs for his dissertation, "A Revolution in the Idea of Rome." It is a pathbreaking analysis of the ways in which the Fascist regime's appropriation of the classical past expressed aspirations and anxieties for the modern world. For Fascist intellectuals, the Eternal City was "not a site of distant glories or nostalgic memories, but a political, moral and aesthetic blueprint for contemporary life," in which Italians were to be regenerated through the imperial virtues of discipline, hierarchy and harmony. This beautifully written study, based on extensive archival research, explores the intersection of the idea of Rome, Fascist political culture and the historical disciplines. The study speaks powerfully not only to the scholarship on the Fascist era, but to current debates about historical preservation and the city of Rome. Kathleen Comerford and Stanislao Pugliese were members of the prize committee, which was chaired by Carol Lansing.

—Alan J. Reinerman
Executive Secretary, SIHS

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