2008 Annual Meeting
Awards and Honors Conferred at the 122nd Annual Meeting
Sharon K. Tune, March 2008
Award for Scholarly Distinction
In 1984 the Council of the American Historical Association established the American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction. Each year a nominating jury, composed of the president, president-elect, and immediate past president, recommends to the Council of the Association up to three names for the award. Nominees are senior historians of the highest distinction in the historical profession who have spent the bulk of their professional careers in the United States. Previous awards have gone to Nettie Lee Benson, Woodrow Borah, Alfred D. Chandler Jr., Thomas D. Clark, David Brion Davis, Angie Debo, Helen G. Edmonds, Elizabeth Eisenstein, Lloyd Gardner, Peter Gay, Felix Gilbert, John Whitney Hall, Tulio Halperín-Donghi, John Higham, H. Stuart Hughes, Margaret Atwood Judson, Nikkie R. Keddie, George F. Kennan, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Gerhart B. Ladner, Gerda Lerner, Lawrence W. Levine, Wallace T. MacCaffrey, Ramsay MacMullen, Ernest R. May, Arno J. Mayer, Richard P. McCormick, August Meier, Edmund Morgan, George L. Mosse, Robert O. Paxton, John G. A. Pocock, Earl Pomeroy, H. Leon Prather Sr., Benjamin Quarles, Edwin O. Reischauer, Robert V. Remini, Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, Caroline Robbins, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Carl E. Schorske, Benjamin I. Schwartz, Kenneth M. Setton, Nancy G. Siraisi, Kenneth M. Stampp, Chester G. Starr, Barbara and Stanley Stein, Fritz Stern, Lawrence Stone, Sylvia L. Thrupp Strayer, Merze Tate, Emma Lou Thornbrough, Brian Tierney, David Underdown, Eugen Weber, Gerhard Weinberg, and George R. Woolfolk.
Joining this distinguished list are Martin Duberman (Lehman College and the Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York), Jack P. Greene (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and Anne Firor Scott (Duke Univ.).
Since publishing his first book in 1960, Martin Bauml Duberman, Distinguished Professor of History emeritus, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, has moved with ease across many fields of history and genres of writing. He has written about politics and culture, institutions and individuals, radicals and reformers. He has ventured into biography and memoir, essays and drama, fiction and documentaries. But history has informed all his work, from his acclaimed documentary drama, In White America (1964), to plays about Jack Kerouac (1977) and Emma Goldman (1991), to a novel about the Haymarket Riot (2003).
Duberman has broken new interpretive ground, opened new subfields, and engaged in a continuing mission to make hidden stories from the past part of a living history. As recently as the early 1960s, 19th-century abolitionists had a reputation as fanatics and cranks. Duberman played a significant role in the rehabilitation of American abolitionism, through his own writing and through editing The Antislavery Vanguard: New Essays on the Abolitionists (Princeton Univ. Press, 1965). In the 1970s and 1980s, he stretched the boundaries of the New Social History to include sexuality and gay/lesbian history.
At a time in a career when many might rest, Duberman continued to produce pioneering and courageous work. In Paul Robeson (Knopf, 1988), he insisted that this persecuted figure from the McCarthy era be given his rightful place in American culture even as he subjected Robeson to intense criticism. In Stonewall (Dutton, 1993), he restored human dimensions to a mythic event in the gay community through the technique of collective biography. Before memoir became the rage in American letters, he subjected his own life to the same level of scrutiny that he applied to others in Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey (Dutton, 1991).
Across this vast body of work, certain themes and values recur. Duberman has great respect for individuals as agents of historical change as well as for their interior moral struggles. He has great affection for the underdog and the excluded. Duberman acknowledges the subjectivity behind the historian's pose, but then urges us to constrain that subjectivity by adhering to scrupulous standards of evidence. His loyalty to history as a form of knowledge comes through most clearly in his other writing. It is as if he believes that the many truths that the past offers are so indispensable that he will use any genre available so that history reaches the widest audience.
For over fifty years, Jack P. Greene, Andrew W. Mellon Professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins Univ., has profoundly influenced the fields of the colonial Americas and the Atlantic world. He has not settled for exploring one narrow aspect of early American history. Instead, Greene has tackled a wide variety of topics in numerous works, including Peripheries and Center: Constitutional Development in the Extended Polities of the British Empire and the United States, 1607–1788 (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1986) and Pursuits of Happiness: The Social Development of Early Modern British Colonies and the Formation of American Culture (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1988), which are considered required reading. He has produced scholarship on topics as diverse as the politics and culture of colonial British America, the American Revolution, legal and constitutional development, and slavery and race, and he has investigated the history of the Chesapeake, the lower South, and the West Indies. Greene's editing talents have resulted in numerous documentary collections and editions, as well as essay collections such as The American Revolution: Its Character and Limits (New York Univ. Press, 1987) and the paradigm-shifting Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1984), which he co-edited with J.R. Pole. He is still an active scholar, with five works in progress.
Greene also sets an example for others with his intellectual generosity and curiosity. He has directed over eighty-five doctoral dissertations, the diversity of which gives witness to his intellectual confidence and breadth of knowledge. In addition to his students, Greene has encouraged and advised numerous other scholars from many countries. Prominent historians in nearly every subfield of early American and Atlantic world history call Greene their mentor. Jack Greene's innovative scholarship on so many aspects of early American social, political, and constitutional history, and his scholarly influence on generations of historians in many corners of the world are certainly worthy of the AHA's Award for Scholarly Distinction.
For half a century, Anne Firor Scott, the William K. Boyd Professor Emerita of History at Duke University, has helped create and nurture the field of American women's history. Through books and articles that are deeply researched and beautifully crafted, Scott explores the history of Southern women, female education, voluntary organizations, and pioneering women scholars. Her first book, The Southern Lady: From Pedestal to Politics, 1830–1930 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1970), initiated the field of southern women's history and offered a model for in-depth studies based on close readings of women's personal diaries and letters. Yet Anne Scott was also eager to give credit to the archivists and scholars who had preceded her, which she did in Unheard Voices: The First Historians of Southern Women (Univ. of Virginia Press, 1993). Fortunately, Scott did not limit her work to only one region. Examining a variety of times and places, she combined detailed analyses of American women's lives and organizations with broader arguments for their influence on society as a whole. In 1984, she published Making the Invisible Woman Visible (Univ. of Illinois Press), a collection of essays that captured the breadth of her interests and expertise. In 1991, Natural Allies: Women's Associations in American History (Univ. of Illinois Press) offered a richly documented portrait of women's voluntary associations over the entire sweep of American history. And in 2006, Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White (Univ. of North Carolina Press) traced the lives and relationship of two figures central to the story of women's activism in the 20th century.
Anne Scott has also shaped the field of women's history through her generous readings of the work of others. Dozens of younger scholars (some of them now quite eminent) have benefited from her exacting red pencil as she shepherded their manuscripts through an intensive process of review and revision. Anne Firor Scott has thus not only produced a body of distinguished scholarship, but also mentored an astonishing number of historians whose work bears her imprint in ways both large and small.
The Troyer Steele Anderson Prize
Established in 1963 through a bequest by Frank Maloy Anderson, a longtime AHA member, this prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the purposes of the Association. The Council selects a recipient based upon the recommendations of the Professional Division, which serves as a nominating jury in consultation with the Research and Teaching Divisions.
The eighth Troyer Steele Anderson Prize was awarded to Roy Rosenzweig (George Mason Univ.), who happily accepted it. Sadly, it was presented posthumously at the annual meeting, for Rosenzweig died a few months previously, on October 11, 2007.
Throughout his many years of service to the American Historical Association, Rosenzweig worked tirelessly to advance this organization's objectives. During his three-year stint as vice president of the Research Division (2003–05), he accomplished a number of goals. He was the moving force for providing "open access" to the AHR. He chaired the committee that chose a successor to Michael Grossberg as editor of the AHR. He also was among those who founded the History Cooperative, which for many years published the digital version of the AHA's flagship publication. Rosenzweig and the division ensured that digital history would be considered for AHA prizes and redefined the Herbert Feis Award in order to recognize the diverse forms of public history. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Rosenzweig was virtually single handedly responsible for an overhaul of the annual meeting. Because of his initiative and imagination, the meeting is now more varied and lively, more open to different sorts of sessions, more welcoming to a variety of historians, more experimental and innovative in the ways historians share their knowledge. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of the annual meeting, both for the Association itself and in the professional lives of its members. Rosenzweig's reforming efforts have thus had broad and lasting impact.
To be sure, in each of these endeavors Rosenzweig did not act alone. But it is certain that those who worked with him would be first to acknowledge his extraordinary energy, thoughtfulness, and imagination in seeing these projects to their successful completion. In recognizing his contributions, the AHA is thus acknowledging also that Rosenzweig's activism, intelligence, and his allegiance to the highest ethical standards will inspire all interested in history for many years to come.
Beveridge Family Teaching Award
Established in 1995, this prize honors the Beveridge family's long-standing commitment to the AHA and to K–12 teaching. Friends and family members endowed this award to recognize excellence and innovation in elementary, middle, and secondary school history teaching, including career contributions and specific initiatives. The individual can be recognized either for individual excellence in teaching or for an innovative initiative applicable to the entire field. It is offered on a two-cycle rotation: in even-numbered years, to an individual; in odd-numbered years, to a group. The prize was first offered in 1996, and in 2007 it is awarded to a group of history teachers.
The Beveridge Family Teaching Prize for 2007 was awarded to the Civics Team at Little Rock Central High School: Mike Johnson, Adam Kirby, Cynthia Mahomes, Keith Richardson, Rachel Rigsby, April Rike, Sarah Schutte, Kirby Shofner, George West, and Stan Williams.
Little Rock High School has taken its central location at the heart of the civil rights struggle and turned it into a project that contributes to our national understandings of the integration crisis symbolized in the struggles at Little Rock Central High School. Creating their Memory Project web site not only inspired interdisciplinary collaboration at Little Rock, but also taught various aspects of historical work including research, writing, publishing, and archive management. While pushing the ever-worthy goal of teaching tolerance, they have also managed to provide their students with a solid grounding in the various ways in which historians engage with the past and raise questions about the present.
Herbert Feis Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public History
Established in 1984, this prize is offered annually to recognize distinguished contributions to public history during the previous 10 years. The prize is named in memory of Herbert Feis (1893–1972), public servant and historian of recent American foreign policy, with an initial endowment from the Rockefeller Foundation. The prize was originally given for books produced by historians working outside of academe. From 2006, the scope of the award is widened to include other types of public history work.
The terms of the award now define both "contribution" and "public history" broadly. Contributions could, for example, include work as the administrator of a public history group or agency (such as a historical society, a historic site, or a community history project) or as the creator or producer of a public history product or products (such as a museum exhibit, radio script, web site, oral history collection, or film). Often, the contribution will be the result of years of effort in the field, but the prize can also recognize a singular contribution of major importance such as a pathbreaking museum exhibit. Public history is defined as work primarily directed at non-academic, non-school-based audiences. Those audiences could be very broad (e.g., television viewers) or highly specialized (e.g., policymakers). Although the audience is primarily outside of academia, the recipient of the award can be employed at a university.
The 2007 prize was awarded to David H. DeVorkin, National Air and Space Museum (NASM), Smithsonian Institution. DeVorkin has had a distinguished career at the NASM since 1981. Well known for his publications on the history of astrophysics, he has developed many innovative programs in the museum. In a recent exhibit he engaged visitors with interactive displays that included a rocking chair marked The Curator Is In, where he sat to discuss the exhibit with visitors. He captures the essence of effective public history as an outstanding scholar, curator, and public intellectual.
William Gilbert Award for Teaching Articles
Named in memory of William Gilbert, a longtime AHA member and distinguished scholar-teacher at the University of Kansas, the biennial Gilbert Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the teaching of history through the publication of journal and serial articles. The prize was endowed by a generous gift from Mrs. Gilbert. Pieces written by members of the AHA and published in the United States during the two years previous to the award are eligible for consideration. Also, journals, magazines, and other serials that publish works on the teaching of history, including methodology and pedagogical theory, may submit nominations.
The 2007 Gilbert Award was presented to Sam Wineburg (Stanford Univ.), Susan Mosborg (Univ. of Washington), Dan Porat (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem), and Ariel Duncan (Oberlin Coll.), for their article "Common Belief and the Cultural Curriculum: An Intergenerational Study of Historical Consciousness," American Educational Research Journal (March 2007). The basic idea that teachers need to be aware of and use the "cultural curriculum" that daily shapes student "historical" consciousness, is, of course, a good one, and the findings here that one must lead students to greater historical understanding of Vietnam are revealing. The research presents an interesting, albeit subjective, reminder of the power of culture in shaping student perceptions and the need for us to work with those perceptions to push to fuller understanding of history.
John E. O'Connor Film Award
In recognition of his exceptional role as a pioneer in both teaching and research regarding film and history, the American Historical Association established this award in honor of John E. O'Connor of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The award seeks to recognize outstanding interpretations of history through the medium of film or video. Essential elements are stimulation of thought, imaginative use of the media, effective presentation of information and ideas, sensitivity to modern scholarship, and accuracy. The production should encourage viewers to ask questions about historical interpretations as well as make a contribution to the understanding of history.
The fourteenth O'Connor Award was presented to Sacco and Vanzetti (Willow Pond Films, 2007), director and producer: Peter Miller, editor and producer: Amy Carey Linton. Sacco and Vanzetti recounts the 1920s passion of two Italian anarchists in fascinating and poetic detail, from their arrest and appeals to the public protests against their executions. The transatlantic tale is told through the men's diaries, archival newsreels, and new film of their Italian birthplaces, Massachusetts homes, Sacco's niece, and the murder victim's daughter. Historians suggest American justice has been repeatedly distorted by paranoid xenophobia, as in current campaigns against Latin and Muslim immigrants.
Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award
In recognition of Nancy Lyman Roelker's role as a teacher, scholar, and committee member of the historical profession, and on the occasion of her 75th birthday, friends, colleagues, and former students established the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. The annual award recognizes and encourages a special quality exemplified by Roelker through the human component in her teaching of history.
Mentoring should encompass not only a belief in the value of the study of history but also a commitment to and a love of teaching it to students regardless of age or career goals. Advising is an essential component, but it also combines a consistent personal commitment by the mentor to the student as a person. Offering a human alternative, frequently in quiet and unacknowledged ways, mentors like Roelker believe that the essence of history lies in its human scope. With this award, the American Historical Association attests to the special role of mentors to the future of the historical profession.
The award is given on a three-cycle rotation to graduate, undergraduate, and secondary school teacher mentors. Nominations for the 2007 prize were for precollegiate mentors. President-elect Spiegel announced that Christine Hays, Poudre High School, Fort Collins, Colorado, is the recipient of the sixteenth annual Roelker Mentorship Award.
Over an award-winning career spanning more than 30 years, Christine Hays has consistently inspired students and peers with her extraordinary dedication. Teaching world history and politics courses at Poudre High School, she created its peer-coaching program, and now directs its International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. A colleague states, "It would take a book to describe the entire curriculum Chris has designed to guide students to a better understanding of themselves, their world, and tolerance of others." A former student writes, she "inspires and encourages students, not only in history, but also in all of their other pursuits." Ms. Hays exemplifies the highest qualities of the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award.
Honorary Foreign Member
At its second annual meeting in Saratoga in 1885, the newly appointed Committee on Nominations for Honorary Membership introduced a resolution, which was adopted, that appointed Leopold von Ranke as the first honorary foreign member. Previously selected biennially, selection is now made annually, honoring a foreign scholar who is distinguished in his or her field and who has "notably aided the work of American historians.
President-elect Spiegel announced the addition of João José Reis of the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), Brazil, and read the following citation: "Professor Reis is an internationally respected historian and one of Brazil's most distinguished scholars and public intellectuals. A major contributor to the scholarship on African slavery and diasporic studies, he has helped define the goals and geographical boundaries of the subfield of Atlantic history. He has also built bridges between Brazilian and U.S. historians through his scholarship, his teaching and lecturing in the United States, his role in internationalizing Brazilian graduate training, and his generosity as a mentor and colleague to foreigners who study Brazil.
Reis's prolific scholarship has transformed how we understand 19th-century urban slavery, particularly in Brazil but also in the broader Atlantic. His first book, translated as Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia (Johns Hopkins Univ., 1993), is the most important existing work on African ethnicities, urban slavery, and revolt in Latin America. It provides a key for understanding American slavery within an Atlantic framework and the ground-level historical connections between Africa and the Americas. His next major work, Death Is a Festival: Funeral Rites and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003), a brilliant study of funerary rites and popular religiosity in early 19th-century Brazil, is a model for the investigation of historical changes in cultural meanings and practices and their relationships to broader social and political transformations. The Portuguese version won the AHA's Clarence Haring Prize in 1996. With these and numerous other scholarly publications, as well as contributions to public debate in Brazilian newspapers and documentary films, Reis has played a leading role in developing social and cultural historical studies in Brazil and in marking their relevance to past and present political struggles.
Reis's deep engagement with the scholarly community in the United States began at the University of Minnesota, where he received his PhD in 1982. He has maintained ties through numerous visiting professorships at U.S. and European universities, by hosting countless foreign colleagues at UFBA and serving as mentor to scores of U.S. graduate students, and by translating and publishing foreign scholarship as editor of Brazilian scholarly journals. His efforts have been instrumental in building international scholarly collaboration on both sides of the North-South divide.
2007 Book Awards
At the annual meeting, the following prizes were announced for the year 2007. The prize citations are recorded below.
Herbert Baxter Adams Prize
Francine Hirsch (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison), for Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Cornell Univ. Press, 2005). In a striking analysis of the nexus of politics and scholarship that gave shape to the USSR, Hirsch reveals the ideological motor that drove Soviet regional policy and the complex process by which ethnologists and Bolsheviks decided who belonged where. Clearly based on profound research using previously unexamined archival materials and materials not previously considered as an ensemble, Hirsch's book is graced with fluid and entertaining prose as well as striking illustrations.
George Louis Beer Prize
J. P. Daughton (Stanford Univ.), for An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880–1914, (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006). J. P. Daughton's An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880–1914 has all the qualities of a prizewinning book: a thesis with broad implications for rethinking an entire field, research in five nations, and graceful prose. The book is innovative in integrating Catholic missionaries into the study of the French empire and in linking domestic and international factors. It offers a model of fruitful connections between political-diplomatic and social-cultural history.
Albert J. Beveridge Award
Allan M. Brandt (Harvard Univ.), for The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America (Basic Books, 2007). On the subject of what was once a small, ephemeral, inessential product, Brandt has constructed a large, substantial, and enduring book illuminating the history of science, medicine, public health, popular culture, gender, business, politics, public policy, and law. Many 20th-century innovations in culture, science, business, and law emerged from efforts to manufacture, sell, and eliminate cigarettes. Multiple sources, including recent disclosures from company files, make for an engaging, multi-faceted, and engrossing read.
James Henry Breasted Prize
John F. Matthews (Yale Univ.), for The Journey of Theophanes: Travel, Business, and Daily Life in the Roman East (Yale Univ. Press, 2006). The Journey of Theophanes provides a portrait of life and travel in the Near East of the fourth century C.E. of extraordinary detail. Matthews' principal sources are fragmentary papyrus records made by a lawyer and his companions on a journey from Egypt to Antioch and back again. These he translates, and also acts as a sure and patient guide to the material. The chapters explore worlds both new and seemingly familiar in light of this evidence, with elegance and enormous learning.
John H. Dunning Prize
Linda L. Nash (Univ. of Washington Seattle), for Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge (Univ. of California Press, 2007). In this in-depth study of California's Central Valley from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, Nash significantly reinterprets how ideas about the human-environment relationship have changed over time. Tracing shifting beliefs in disease causality—from origins in a dangerous natural environment to germ-ridden human bodies as the sole locus of disease back to a dangerous environment made unnaturally deadly by pesticides and pollution—Nash complicates, enriches, and connects environmental history and the history of medicine.
John Edwin Fagg Prize
Sabine MacCormack (Univ. of Notre Dame), for On the Wings of Time: Rome, the Incas, Spain, and Peru (Princeton Univ. Press, 2006). Erudite and intricate, yet a pleasure to read, On the Wings of Time offers subtle, original insights into how early modern writers understood the classical past, in ways that not only shaped European concepts of Andean life, but also helped to formulate an Andean identity during the 16th and 17th centuries. Drawing upon knowledge of three historiographies (classics, early modern humanism, and Andean ethnohistory), this book makes the classical past a living, indispensable part of the intellectual history of Latin America and Spain.
John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History
Eugenia Y. Lean (Columbia Univ.), for Public Passions: The Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China (Univ. of California Press, 2007). Lean skillfully uses the sensationalized 1935 murder trial of Shi Jianqiao as a lens through which to examine the rising influence of the popular press and sentimentality in Republican China. Shi, a woman, shot Sun Chuanfang to avenge Sun's earlier murder of her father. Lean skillfully examines how Shi deliberately evoked filial piety and courted public sympathy through the press. She analyzes how Shi used emotional responses to challenge successfully the rule of law and political authority.
Morris D. Forkosch Prize
Deborah Cohen (Brown Univ.), for Household Gods: The British and their Possessions (Yale Univ. Press, 2006). In Household Gods: The British and Their Possessions, Deborah Cohen traces Britain's love affair with the domestic interior, blending social, cultural, and gender history with the history of art and design. Cohen advances the intriguing idea that, in the Victorian era, home decor came to define what it meant to be British and reshaped notions of self, morality, and class. Richly illustrated and written with humor and grace, Household Gods takes this story into popular realms by examining unpublished diaries, family photographs, and the archives of provincial retailers.
Leo Gershoy Award
Richard B. Sher (New Jersey Institute of Technology), for The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2006). Drawing upon massive research in the British Isles and North America, Sher reaffirms the dynamic force of the Scottish Enlightenment in 18th-century intellectual life and reminds readers living in an era of renewed information revolution that the modes and media that transmit ideas matter. This work takes its place alongside classic studies in the history of the book by Robert Darnton and Elizabeth Eisenstein and marks a new standard of maturity in that field.
Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women's History
Mrinalini Sinha (Pennsylvania State Univ.), for Specters of Mother India: The Global Restructuring of an Empire (Duke Univ. Press, 2006). Based on an astounding array of sources, Sinha deftly reconstructs the debates that raged throughout the world in the wake of the 1927 publication of Katherine Mayo's pro-colonial exposé, Mother India, and explores their implications for imagining and constituting the Indian nation-state. By demonstrating the centrality of woman and Indian feminism to conceptualizations of citizenship and individual rights, she provides new ways of understanding British decolonization and the inauguration of the so-called American century.
Dalia Tsuk Mitchell (George Washington Univ. Law School), for Architect of Justice: Felix S. Cohen and the Founding of American Legal Pluralism (Cornell Univ. Press, 2007). Through the medium of intellectual biography, but transcending the biographical framework by dint of her research on related themes, Dalia Mitchell has skillfully interwoven the histories of legal thought, minority rights, treaty law, and the development of pluralism in American politics and cultural relations in the 20th century. She provides a brilliant and highly original analysis of how law and governmental institutions have responded to the persistent question of justice for minorities and the dispossessed in American society.
J. Russell Major Prize
Martha Hanna (Univ. of Colorado at Boulder), for Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War (Harvard Univ. Press, 2006). This gripping study of Paul and Marie Pireaud, newlywed farmers in the Dordogne (southwest France), which rests on their many letters exchanged during World War I, first expands and then challenges our understanding of these times by focusing on two interrelated fronts of the war—the battlefield and the household—and on the shared concerns—nation and village, life and death, love and loss—they fearfully, but courageously, managed to the end.
Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize
John A. Davis (Univ. of Connecticut), for Naples and Napoleon: Southern Italy and the European Revolutions, 1780–1860 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006). Deftly weaving narrative with analysis, this compelling study reassesses the role of southern Italy in the Risorgimento, challenging long-standing notions of immobility and passivity. Indeed, responses to the crisis of the pre-revolutionary Bourbon monarchy put the south out front among the Italian states by 1799—and even into the 1820s. But reform efforts brought tensions to the fore, prompting the author's conclusion that the south's deepest problems stemmed from change itself, not from its absence.
George L. Mosse Prize
David Blackbourn (Harvard Univ.), for The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany (W.W. Norton, 2006). In The Conquest of Nature, David Blackbourn tracks the German imagination of the land and its waters from the Rhine to the Oder, from Frederick the Great's engineering projects to the Nazis' racially charged plans for the Pripet Marshes, and finally to environmental concerns of the 21st century. The book is accessible, pleasurable to read, and intellectually stimulating. It will shape ideas of German nationalism and landscape for some time to come.
James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History
Sabine MacCormack (Univ. of Notre Dame), for On the Wings of Time: Rome, the Incas, Spain, and Peru (Princeton Univ. Press, 2006). Based on an impressive research base of primary and secondary texts written in more than half-a-dozen languages, this evocative and imposingly erudite book demonstrates how Roman and classical literature shaped Spaniards' understanding of the Andean empire they conquered and the Atlantic one they created. In tightly woven and persuasively argued sections, MacCormack explores how the lens of Rome framed local and transatlantic discussions of conquest, nature, free will, language, cities, law, and political life.
Rosanne Adderley (Vanderbilt Univ.), for "New Negroes from Africa": Slave Trade Abolition and Free African Settlement in the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean (Indiana Univ. Press, 2006). Part of a growing history of how slaves recreated and constructed black communities by resorting to visions of Africa while at the same time partaking in their new environs, this monograph describes the advent of clustered Yoruba/Congo people as liberated slaves into the British Caribbean. Adderley's research on the 19th-century Bahamas and Trinidad shows how liberated slaves formed distinct black communities; explores how communities, families, and households worked; and examines the religious underpinnings of this process.
Sylviane A. Diouf (New York Public Library), for Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006). This book tells the story of the slave ship Clotilda from her 1860 voyage to 1935, when the last survivor of the ship died. Dozens of young people from Dahomey and Nigeria were smuggled into Alabama by a businessman who bet that he could defy the law. Diouf researches the backgrounds of the slave traders and the languages and political and cultural conditions of the slaves. As free persons, the group reunited and founded Africa Town, where customary African laws and languages prevailed.
Note: By committee decision, the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award was not conferred for 2007.
—Sharon K. Tune is the AHA's convention director and assistant director, administration.