Awards, Prizes, and Honors to Be Conferred at the 135th Annual Meeting
The following is a list of recipients of the various awards, prizes, and honors that will be presented during the 135th annual meeting of the American Historical Association on Thursday, January 6, 2022, in Mardi Gras Ballroom E of the New Orleans Marriott.
2021 Awards for Scholarly and Professional Distinction
Awards for Scholarly Distinction
Darlene Clark Hine, Michigan State University and Northwestern University
Darlene Clark Hine, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of History at Michigan State University and Board of Trustees Emeritus Professor of African American Studies and History at Northwestern University, is a distinguished scholar of African American and women’s history. Her wide-ranging work in these fields has been transformational.
She has published several monographs and edited several volumes, including Black Victory: The Rise and Fall of the White Primary in Texas (1979; second ed., 2003); Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890–1950 (1989); and The State of Afro-American History, Past, Present and Future (1989). She coordinated a major project, Black Women in the Middle West, that documented the lives of women via archival materials and oral histories.
From 1985 to 2004, Clark Hine taught at Michigan State University, where she founded the Comparative Black History PhD program. Of special note are the many ways that she has encouraged the development of African American history, introduced audiences outside the academy to the field, and supported younger scholars.
Clark Hine has received many honors for her scholarship and for her leadership in the field of African American history. On July 28, 2014, President Barack Obama presented her with a 2013 National Humanities Medal for her contributions to Black women’s history. She has also served as the head of the Organization of American Historians (2001–02) and the Southern Historical Association (2002–03). She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006 and she has received honorary doctorates from several colleges and universities in recognition of her distinguished work.
Teofilo Ruiz, University of California, Los Angeles
Teofilo Ruiz is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he held positions in both the Department of History and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Ruiz’s career trajectory has been nothing short of extraordinary. He grew up in Cuba, where, as a teenager, he supported the Cuban Revolution. After witnessing certain policies from the revolutionary government, Ruiz protested and was jailed. He left for Miami in 1961 and eventually moved to New York, where he supported himself driving taxis. He went to night school at the tuition-free City College of New York, where he nurtured an interest in medieval history. He eventually went on for an MA at New York University and a PhD at Princeton University, completing his PhD in 1974. Ruiz spent his entire 46-year career teaching in public universities: Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY (1974–98) and UCLA (1998–2020).
Ruiz is the author of 15 books on medieval and early modern Spain, including Crisis and Continuity: Land and Town in Late Medieval Castile (1994), winner of the AHA’s Premio del Rey. Ruiz’s research interests stretch across a range of innovative topics, including terror, festivals, food, clothing, and poverty. Though he has made groundbreaking contributions to traditional questions of kingship and Christian/Muslim relations in Castile, his research has never lost focus on common folk and the marginalized—women, criminals, slaves, Roma, and Jews. Examining everyday people and everyday life, Ruiz, perhaps more than any other scholar, bridges the divide between “medieval” and “early modern” Spanish histories, concentrating on the longue durée and destabilizing the popular obsession with 1492 as a watershed moment. In addition to his many works on Spanish history, Ruiz has also made important interventions in (re)-theorizing Braudel’s Mediterranean world, especially in its orientation to new Atlantic histories. Among his many academic accolades, Ruiz is a member of the Société nationale des Antiquaires de France, the Society of Fellows of the Medieval Academy of America, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to his pathbreaking research and writing, Ruiz is a legendary teacher. Former undergraduate students hail his lectures for their breadth, passion, and wit. His ability to convey a sense of wonder about the beauty and vulgarity of history inspired thousands of students over the course of his career. In 1995, the Carnegie Foundation awarded him its national College Professor of the Year. The CUNY system celebrated this achievement by posting placards of Ruiz all over the NYC subway system, briefly making him, as one colleague wryly put it, the most recognizable medievalist on the planet. Complementing Ruiz’s “rock star” persona as a lecturer is a deep commitment to mentorship. Former graduate students and colleagues laud his conviviality, his self-sacrifice, and his efforts in building scholarly communities. For his combined contributions to scholarship and teaching, President Barack Obama awarded Ruiz the National Humanities Medal in 2012.
Peter N. Stearns, George Mason University
Peter N. Stearns is University Professor of history and provost emeritus at George Mason University. He previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was chair of the Department of History (1986–92), Heinz Professor (1974–2000), and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (1992–2000). He has also taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and Rutgers University.
To say that Stearns’s scholarly production is prodigious vastly understates the number and range of his publications; he has written over 100 books and innumerable articles. His 1997 Fat History: Bodies and Beauty in the Modern West was a finalist for 1998 Los Angeles Book of the Year. He has won numerous awards for scholarship, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and several Social Science Research Fellowships. Besides his scholarly contributions, he has been repeatedly recognized for superior teaching. Perhaps his best-known contribution to scholarship was his founding of the Journal of Social History in 1967, of which he served as editor-in-chief for 47 years. His influence in defining the field of social history in the United States and beyond cannot be overestimated; especially in its early years, he was social history’s most prominent advocate and proponent in the United States.
Stearns’s interests in European social history and the history of emotions—he almost singlehandedly crafted the historical field of emotionology—have expanded over the decades to include an astonishing array of scholarly pursuits and areas of expertise. He has authored several influential and widely used textbooks in world history, served as the general editor of the multivolume Encyclopedia of European Social History, and published extensively on the histories of sexuality, childhood, death, human rights, and the Industrial Revolution. Many of these works have been translated into several languages. Recently he advanced a series of cogent arguments for Why Study History? in a 2020 co-authored volume. Stearns’s reputation is truly international in scope, and he has been honored for those many accomplishments by numerous foreign universities. Often underappreciated in an assessment of scholarship is what a person has done to promote the careers and scholarship of others; in this regard, he has few equals.
Honorary Foreign Member
Mahesh Rangarajan, Krea University, India
Mahesh Rangarajan is vice chancellor of Krea University in India. He previously served as director of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi (2011–15) and was a professor of history and environmental studies at Ashoka University (2016–21). An enormously productive scholar, he has also been an exemplary member of the scholarly community, collaborating with other historians and providing help and guidance to foreign researchers working in or on India.
Rangarajan’s scholarship is characterized by its broad range and creativity. An environmental historian, he is the author of (among other works) Fencing the Forest: Conservation and Ecological Change in India’s Central Provinces, 1860–1914 (1996); India’s Wildlife History: An Introduction (2001); and Nature and Nation: Essays on Environmental History (2015). He is also editor or co-editor of a number of volumes, including Environmental Issues in India: A Reader (2007); As If Nature Existed: Ecological Economics Meets Environmental History and Environmental Economics (2011); At Nature’s Edge: The Global Present and Long Term History (2018); and a two-volume history of the Indian environment (2012).
Foreign scholars have benefited immensely from Rangarajan’s outstanding leadership of the Nehru Memorial Museum. In that post, he was instrumental in opening collections to researchers from all over the world, and in preserving priceless correspondence and archives related to 20th-century India. He is among the most distinguished historians of India of his generation, the leading environmental historian of India at work in the field today, and one of that country’s most prominent intellectuals.
John Lewis Award for History and Social Justice
Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania
Mary Frances Berry has a decades-long career as a tireless researcher, teacher, scholar, and civic activist who has advanced social justice through public service, academic leadership, and groundbreaking historical scholarship on the relationship between law and racism in America.
Born and raised in Nashville during the height of Jim Crow, Berry started college at Fisk University before she moved to Howard University, from which she graduated with a BA in history. After earning an MA at Howard, Berry enrolled in the University of Michigan, from which she earned both a PhD in history and a JD in law, a combination that fueled her lifelong scholarly work on race, law, and constitutional history.
The author of 12 books and the recipient of nearly three dozen honorary degrees, Berry pioneered several areas of academic and civic life. She was the first African American female provost of a major research university (Univ. of Maryland, College Park); she went from that role to become the first to head a major research university (Univ. of Colorado Boulder). Before fully settling into that role, she was tapped to become an assistant secretary of health, education, and welfare in the Carter administration. From there she would go on to serve on the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1980–2004), a body she ultimately chaired (1993–2004). While a member of the commission, she led the fight to end apartheid in South Africa.
Over the course of nearly five decades, Berry has led and through her scholarship, publications, activism, and leadership she has changed the world, making it better for all.
John Lewis Award for Public Service to the Discipline of History
Sam Pollard, New York University
Currently professor of TV and film studies in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Sam Pollard is an award-winning filmmaker and gifted storyteller. Drawing upon his outstanding skills as editor, producer, director, and screenwriter, he has crafted documentaries that have enriched our understanding of multiple historical narratives, particularly those dealing with African American history.
In 1987, Pollard joined Henry Hampton’s Blackside production team and contributed to the second series of the award-winning documentary Eyes on the Prize, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writers. He also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary with Spike Lee for their film 4 Little Girls about the September 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He edited other films in collaboration with Lee: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (about Hurricane Katrina) and its sequel If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise. Among his other films are Goin’ Back to T-Town, which looks at life in the segregated Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1920s and 1930s, and MLK/FBI, which chronicles the FBI harassment and surveillance of Martin Luther King from 1963 to 1968.
Pollard uses the medium of film to bring together a wide range of historical sources—contemporary news footage and music, still images, material from archival sources, clips from old movies, interviews with participants, and insights from academics and journalists. He brings to film-making a keen sense of the historian’s responsibility—to confront the past head on, in the process overturning stereotypes and preconceived notions if necessary. His documentary films have brought history to a wide and appreciative audience in the United States and throughout the world.
Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award
April Masten, Stony Brook University, State University of New York
April Masten’s teaching shows creative approaches to incorporating kinesthetic and transdisciplinary learning in a history classroom. Her commitment to innovative teaching methods over many years make her particularly fitting for the Asher Award. Learning historical dances and the contexts in which they occurred has clearly been powerful for Masten’s students. The Asher Award asks for a recipient to advocate for history education, and Masten’s unique approaches in the classroom have shown students how dynamic studying history can be.
Beveridge Family Teaching Prize
Joseph Schmidt, New York City Department of Education
Joseph Schmidt’s commitment to culturally responsive, relevant, and inclusive history education spans from the classroom to the administrator’s office and beyond. Schmidt’s innovations and interventions in New York City public schools are deep and broad and have clearly impacted teachers, students, and policy makers over the span of his career. His involvement in the Passport to Social Studies curriculum has reached well beyond the Harlem public school where he began his career as an educator. He is well deserving of this honor.
Equity Award (Individual)
Crystal R. Sanders, Penn State University
The AHA Committee on Minority Historians is pleased to award the 2021 Individual Equity Award to Crystal R. Sanders, associate professor of history at Penn State University. While an assistant professor in 2016, Sanders created, supervised, and recruited for the Emerging Scholars Program, a summer program for undergraduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to demystify graduate school and promote the profession through workshops and simulated doctoral seminars. As of the summer of 2020, at least nine former African American and Latinx program participants are in graduate school. From 2018 to 2020, Sanders served as director of Penn State’s Africana Research Center, where she oversaw a successful postdoctoral program that prepared recent PhD graduates for future faculty positions. While both programs were active, she created and ran the Midcareer Faculty Advancement Program, a resource to assist underrepresented associate professors in advancing to full professorships. These programs represent only a glimpse into Sanders’s sustained efforts in diversifying the profession and the academy.
Equity Award (Institutional)
Northeastern State University, Department of History
The AHA Committee on Minority Historians is pleased to award the 2021 Institutional Equity Award to the Department of History at Northeastern State University, located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the seat of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Northeastern State’s history department actively recruits and supports Indigenous students, creating a sustained pipeline for Indigenous students to enter the profession as social studies teachers, public historians, and graduate students who are welcomed back to campus as internship supervisors, History Day judges, and guest speakers. With a full third of recent history and social studies education graduates identifying as Indigenous, the department’s faculty have demonstrated a sustained commitment to secure and sustain diversity in the discipline.
Herbert Feis Award in Public History
Theodore Karamanski, Loyola University Chicago
Theodore Karamanski is a pioneer in public history as a member of what might be called the founding generation of the field. He is an institution builder, having helped define and promote ethical public history on an international scale. Karamanski’s scholarship is wide-ranging, but regardless of the topic, from maritime history to Midwestern studies, Native American history to the history of landscape preservation, he engages wide and diverse audiences in the practice of public history.
Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award
Herrick Eaton Chapman, New York University
For over four decades, Herrick Eaton Chapman has inspired, guided, and nurtured the next generation of historians of modern France. The nomination letters highlight his broadminded, patient, compassionate, selfless, timely, empowering, and forthright mentoring. They also speak to his “firm, unwavering commitment to his students’ long-term success” and his “lifelong delight in the pursuit of knowledge as a mutually supportive enterprise.”
2021 Awards for Publications
Herbert Baxter Adams Prize in European History
Stefan J. Link, Dartmouth College
Forging Global Fordism: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order (Princeton Univ. Press, 2020)
In Forging Global Fordism, Stefan J. Link undertakes a revisionist history of Fordism in interwar Europe. Gracefully written and masterfully drawing on intellectual, economic, and business history methodologies, the book foregrounds Henry Ford’s antiliberal vision of modernity and explains why and how Fordism was embraced by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, despite fears of “Americanism.” The result is a reconfigured history of the global 1930s and Europe’s role in shaping the postwar order.
George Louis Beer Prize in European International History
Francine Hirsch, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal after World War II (Oxford Univ. Press, 2020)
Francine Hirsch’s eloquent, impeccably researched history of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg recasts our understanding of postwar international law by highlighting key Soviet contributions. Her definitive study places European events firmly in an international context, presenting all four powers—American, French, British, and Soviet—as they cooperated and competed in their reckoning with Nazi crimes. This international history will become the standard account not just of Soviet involvement but of the trial as a whole.
Jerry Bentley Prize in World History
Chris Otter, Ohio State University
Diet for a Large Planet: Industrial Britain, Food Systems, and World Ecology (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2020)
Erudite and compellingly told, Diet for a Large Planet offers a history of changes to Britain’s culture of food production and consumption since the late 18th century, revealing the global implications of the agro-ecological effects of industrialization. Moving beyond polemical critiques of agribusiness and unhealthy diets, Chris Otter demonstrates the pre-1945 capitalist and imperialist roots of systems of biology, agriculture, politics, economics, and popular culture that have evolved into major global environmental and health challenges in the present day.
Albert J. Beveridge Award in American History
Thavolia Glymph, Duke University
The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2020)
The Women’s Fight is a stunning, nuanced reinterpretation of the US Civil War that centers women as active agents who engaged with, and often challenged, existing racial, economic, and regional structures. Drawing heavily on previously untapped women’s writings and remembrances, Thavolia Glymph demonstrates for the first time that women from virtually every social class, race, and region were central participants in the demise of the Confederacy and the restructuring of the Union.
James Henry Breasted Prize in Ancient History
Simon Martin, University of Pennsylvania Museum
Ancient Maya Politics: A Political Anthropology of the Classic Period 150–900 CE (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2020)
Employing both new epigraphic and material evidence, as well as applying theories from anthropology, political science, and comparative history, Simon Martin’s Ancient Maya Politics superbly demonstrates that an abundance of Mayan polities could co-exist for hundreds of years without destroying each other. They existed within a hegemonic system, in which all states subscribed to a shared moral order and endeavored to claim dominance, not through the acquisition of territory, but rather by amassing client kingships.
Raymond J. Cunningham Prize for Undergraduate Journal Article
Ann Tran, University of Southern California (BA 2020, Texas Christian University)
“A Bloody Solidarity: Nguyen Thai Binh and the Vietnamese Antiwar Movement in the Long Sixties,” The Boller Review: A TCU Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity 5 (2020)
Faculty adviser: Kara Dixon Vuic, Texas Christian University
Ann Tran focuses on the life, death, and anti–Vietnam War activism of Nguyen Thai Binh to illuminate how Vietnamese student activists studying in the United States were radicalized and ultimately challenged the war’s brutal militarism. Tran reveals how the legacy of Binh’s murder inspired a pan-Asian and multicultural coalition to memorialize him and champion his fight against the war and racism. The impressive research and nuanced reading of sources make the scholarship outstanding, with clear historiographical contributions.
John H. Dunning Prize in American History
Bathsheba Demuth, Brown University
Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (W.W. Norton, 2019)
Lyrical, analytical, and stunningly original, Floating Coast interrogates the economy and ecology of the Bering Strait. Drawing on Iñupiat, Yupik, and Chukchi testimonies as well as Russian- and English-language sources, Bathsheba Demuth describes the cycle of energy transfers in Beringia, placing a region often considered marginal at the center of histories of capitalism and communism. This eloquent and moving meditation on the past has haunting implications for the environmental challenges of the present.
John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History
Eric Schluessel, George Washington University
Land of Strangers: The Civilizing Project in Qing Central Asia (Columbia Univ. Press, 2020)
Land of Strangers is a moving account of late Qing efforts to assimilate the “Musulmans,” or Uyghurs, in China’s newly established Xinjiang province. Shifting deftly between theoretical analysis and individual narratives, Eric Schluessel analyzes the resulting translation, entanglement, and estrangement across cultural boundaries in the oasis of Turpan. Schluessel’s rich exploration of political philosophy, burial practices, sexual enslavement, and history writing under Confucian-inflected colonialism challenges our understanding of China as well as Central Asia.
Morris D. Forkosch Prize in British History
Jeffrey R. Collins, Queen’s University, Canada
In the Shadow of Leviathan: John Locke and the Politics of Conscience (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2020)
In a remarkable work of intellectual history, Jeffrey R. Collins uncovers John Locke’s deep engagement with the ideas of Thomas Hobbes. Drawing on meticulous archival research, In the Shadow of Leviathan demonstrates that Locke’s notion of religious freedom as an inalienable right arose from his grappling with Hobbes’s claim that toleration is a “gift of sovereignty.” In making this case, Collins transforms our understanding of the relationship between emerging liberalism and religion in postrevolutionary England.
Leo Gershoy Award in Western European History
Susan North, Victoria and Albert Museum
Sweet and Clean? Bodies and Clothes in Early Modern England (Oxford Univ. Press, 2020)
Sweet and Clean? makes visible a hidden history of hygiene, revealing just how important cleanliness and washing were for early modern English people. In an ambitiously interdisciplinary study, demonstrating the value of material studies for histories of social experience, Susan North weaves together medical and moral advice literature and histories of disease, consumption, daily life, and clothing, elucidating the practices through which people, regardless of economic means, sought to achieve the state of being Sweet and Clean.
William and Edwyna Gilbert Award for the Best Article on Teaching History
Jill E. Kelly, Southern Methodist University, and Omar Badsha, South African History Online
“Teaching South African History in the Digital Age: Collaboration, Pedagogy, and Popularizing History,” History in Africa 47 (2020)
Using innovative, collaborative methods, this article presents the results of a five-year partnership between North American universities and the South African nonprofit South African History Online to build a digital encyclopedia of primary sources and original research in South African history. Jill E. Kelly and Omar Badsha provide a reflective, tangible pedagogical model of North-South collaboration by giving North American students a meaningful task and the opportunity to learn from researchers in South Africa.
Clarence H. Haring Prize in Latin American History
Laura Fahrenkrog Cianelli, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
In this exploration of indios cantores who held and disseminated important musical and cultural knowledge in colonial Paraguay, Laura Fahrenkrog Cianelli has produced a creatively framed, deeply researched, and beautifully written feat of historical scholarship. The author compellingly demonstrates that indios cantores were multifaceted actors whose labor and mobility were instrumental in centering Asunción in a vast and connected hinterland. The book’s significance extends beyond its geographic boundaries by contributing to our understanding of ethnomusicology, missions, and urban formation.
J. Franklin Jameson Award in Historical Editing
Hani Khafipour, University of Southern California
The Empires of the Near East and India: Source Studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal Literate Communities (Columbia Univ. Press, 2019)
This ambitious collection illuminates the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal Empires in the early modern world. Hani Khafipour and contributors provide clear guidance to a broad range of literate historical sources, from royal edicts to poetry, which were translated into English from four languages. This extraordinary work advances a synergistic understanding of a complex historical field while rendering that field accessible to new audiences of students and scholars.
Friedrich Katz Prize in Latin American History
Larissa Brewer-García, University of Chicago
Beyond Babel: Translations of Blackness in Colonial Peru and New Granada (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2020)
An astonishing achievement of historical excavation and analysis, Beyond Babel reveals how acts of religious translation functioned as origin sites for the creation of new discourses of Blackness and Black subjectivity among Afro-Latin Americans. Gorgeously written and subtly argued, Larissa Brewer-García demonstrates how Black translators shaped notions of beautiful and virtuous Blackness to elevate prominent as well as previously neglected texts to new authoritative heights of intellectual and literary consequence.
Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History
Thavolia Glymph, Duke University
The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2020)
Sophisticated and painstaking in its research and analysis, The Women’s Fight dramatically recasts the meaning, texture, and outcome of the American Civil War. In this wide-ranging study of women’s lives, labors, politics, and aspirations, Thavolia Glymph demonstrates how an intersectional methodology transforms our understandings of home, freedom, national belonging, and women’s relationships with one another. Glymph’s sweeping scope and inventive research, presented in gorgeous prose, are sure to make The Women’s Fight a touchstone in the histories of the 19th-century United States, women and gender, war, and American life.
Martin A. Klein Prize in African History
Jacob Dlamini, Princeton University
Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park (Ohio Univ. Press, 2020)
Safari Nation is an exemplary study of migration, labor, and the struggle for justice in colonial and apartheid South Africa. Jacob Dlamini’s rich narrative, rendered through engaging, highly accessible prose, centers Africans as conservationists who transformed South Africa’s natural and political landscape. At once a political, social, and economic history of Kruger Park and the Africans who worked within and traversed through it, this groundbreaking work by an immensely talented historian broadens our understanding of the myriad strategies Africans employed to live with and, ultimately, undermine white rule.
Waldo G. Leland Prize for Historical Reference Tool
Thomas Spear, University of Wisconsin–Madison
The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography: Methods and Sources (Oxford Univ. Press, 2019)
An extraordinary achievement of interdisciplinary innovation, international collaboration, temporal depth, and ecological breadth, the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Historiography surveys, assesses, and models pathbreaking methods for the understanding of human and nonhuman history throughout and beyond the African continent. From anthropology and archaeobotany in the Bantu-speaking regions to digital resources and oral histories among the Zulu, this expansive, well-indexed, and pedagogically inspiring volume showcases sophisticated and cutting-edge contributions from multidisciplinary, transgeographical Africanist scholarship past and present.
Littleton-Griswold Proze in US Legal History
Douglas J. Flowe, Washington University in St. Louis
Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2020)
Uncontrollable Blackness is an original and sensitive exploration of the lives of nonelite African American men as they intersected with the criminal justice system in Jim Crow New York. Using newspaper reports, legal archives, and prison records, Douglas J. Flowe traces how his subjects understood, navigated, resisted, and deployed criminalization. In drawing links among masculinity, crime, class, and race, Flowe makes a powerful case for the political and cultural meaningfulness of criminality.
J. Russell Major Prize in French History
Nimisha Barton, University of California, Irvine
Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in Modern France (Cornell Univ. Press, 2020)
Combining case studies with a broader story about citizenship and the Third Republic, Nimisha Barton’s excellent book argues that gender, family, and marital status all powerfully shaped immigrants’ interactions with the interwar welfare state. Reproductive Citizens highlights the experiences of those who navigated official bureaucracy, showing how immigrant women worked in concert with republican desires to populate the nation. Beautifully written and richly researched, the book offers a sweeping and innovative perspective on French immigration.
Helen & Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History
Victoria de Grazia, Columbia University
The Perfect Fascist: A Story of Love, Power, and Morality in Mussolini’s Italy (Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2020)
With The Perfect Fascist, Victoria de Grazia has delivered the consummate biography. No one has so vividly conveyed the mixture of conviction and opportunism that attracted men like Attilio Teruzzi to Mussolini’s regime, or the contradictions between public and private that lurked beneath the surface. De Grazia’s compelling prose brings to life an individual, a relationship, and an epoch, and, like the very best history writing, something timeless about what it is to be human.
George L. Mosse Prize in European Intellectual and Cultural History
Magda Teter, Fordham University
Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Harvard Univ. Press, 2020)
Based on a rich collection of archival and printed sources in 10 different languages, Blood Libel is a chilling study of the rise and spread across Europe of the spurious claim that Jews were ritually killing Christian children. Magda Teter innovatively tracks how these stories circulated through both formal media and informal communication channels. In the end, Teter reveals how single-minded individuals, equivocating institutions, and uncritical audiences created the environment for calumny to flourish.
John E. O'Connor Film Award (Documentary)
Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer, producers and directors
CURED (Story Center Films, 2020)
CURED shows how the struggle in the streets met the struggle within psychiatry in the long fight for LGBTQ+ rights. It offers a compelling narrative of the activism that led to the removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders through stories of individuals personally affected by the notion that homosexuality is a mental illness. This is a timely film about how change happens in society and in science and medicine.
Eugenia M. Palmegiano Prize in the History of Journalism
Vanessa Freije, University of Washington–Seattle
Citizens of Scandal: Journalism, Secrecy, and the Politics of Reckoning in Mexico (Duke Univ. Press, 2020)
This extensively researched book shows how a diverse set of political scandals allowed the Mexican media to carve a new role for themselves from the 1960s to the 1980s and thereby helped undermine Mexico’s longstanding one-party political system. Vanessa Freije recognizes that the journalists she highlights were not saints and that they sometimes relied on racial stereotypes or reflected narrow political interests. Freije’s careful analysis and her clear prose make the significance of the story she tells clear, even to readers with no background in modern Mexican history.
James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History
Allison Margaret Bigelow, University of Virginia
Mining Language: Racial Thinking, Indigenous Knowledge, and Colonial Metallurgy in the Early Modern Iberian World (Omohundro Inst. of Early American History and Culture and Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2020)
This innovative study of the technical and scientific vocabularies that miners developed in the Americas features the four main metals—gold, iron, copper, and silver—of imperial endeavors. Ranging across the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries, Mining Language deftly demonstrates that colonial mining methods had Indigenous and African roots. Primarily a literary scholar, Allison Margaret Bigelow is fully committed to interdisciplinary work. Her pioneering linguistic and visual analyses uncover a world of incorporation and erasure.
John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History
Nira Wickramasinghe, Leiden University
Slave in a Palanquin: Colonial Servitude and Resistance in Sri Lanka (Columbia Univ. Press, 2020)
A meditation on unfreedom in freedom, this richly textured work retrieves the hidden histories of enslaved men and women who resisted subordination after the abolition of slavery in early 19th-century Sri Lanka. Nira Wickramasinghe tells the story of Asian slaves, omitted from most conventional accounts of slavery, through an imaginative reading of diverse sources and engagement with broader imperial narratives and transoceanic networks. The book is a welcome corrective and a compelling read.
Dorothy Rosenberg Prize in History of the Jewish Diaspora
Devi Mays, University of Michigan
Forging Ties, Forging Passports: Migration and the Modern Sephardi Diaspora (Stanford Univ. Press, 2020)
Connecting the seemingly separate lives of 20th-century Sephardi Ladino-speakers in Mexico and ex-Ottoman lands, Devi Mays’s meticulously researched book unearths complex networks of Jewish migration and reconstructs the world of Sephardi migrants, their families, and perceptions of Jewishness. A celebration of hypermobility that disrupts nationality and citizenship, it is also an account of its demise in an age of firm state borders, legal boundaries, and reified national identities—an exemplary work of global and Jewish history.
Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History
Robert Lee, University of Cambridge; Tristan Ahtone, Grist; Margaret Pearce, Studio 1:1; Kalen Goodluck; Geoff McGhee; and Cody Leff
“Land-Grab Universities“ (High Country News, 2020)
“Land-Grab Universities” uses historical datasets and geographic visualizations to highlight the debts American land grant universities owe to Indigenous peoples. In doing so, it has caught the attention of students, faculty, and administrators and has catalyzed additional research into this subject as well as the beginnings of efforts toward outreach and restitution to the Indigenous peoples whose lands were taken at their founding. It is an exemplar of the best traditions of open access digital scholarship.
Wesley-Logan Prize in African Diaspora History
Jessica Marie Johnson, Johns Hopkins University
Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2020)
Wicked Flesh is a beautifully rendered study of slavery, kinship, and intimacy across the Black Atlantic. Jessica Marie Johnson moves us from the west coast of Africa to the Americas, using life histories that deeply engage Diaspora studies and Black feminist theory. Wicked Flesh shows how Black women used kinship to challenge and reshape the terms of their enslavement and chart new territories of freedom.
Teofilo Ruiz’s image courtesy Scarlett Freund; Peter Stearns's image courtesy Creative Services/George Mason University; Mahesh Rangarajan's image courtesy Krea University; Mary Frances Berry’s image courtesy Elyse Couvillion; Herrick Eaton Chapman’s image courtesy Tony Rinaldo Photography.
Rebecca L. West is the operations and communications assistant at the AHA.
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