For a first book that deals substantially with the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2019 > Lauren Jae Gutterman, Her Neighbor’s Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage (Philadelphia PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).
Finalist for this award: Katie L. Jarvis, Politics in the Marketplace: Work, Gender, and Citizenship in Revolutionary France (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019).
2018 > Keisha N. Blain, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).
Beautifully written and analytically and historically innovative, Blain’s book demonstrates how a supposedly “failed movement,” the activism of black nationalist women who challenged white supremacy and advocated for full citizenship and human rights for people of African descent, could nonetheless offer important sources of identity, voice, and power to the women who constituted it. With deftness and superior historical skill, Blain embraces difficult topics – such as the alliances forged between white supremacists and black nationalists around emigration campaigns – to demonstrate how these moments of dissociation and dissonance offered space for the creation of novel forms of feminist thought within black nationalist and internationalist traditions. From prison cells and community centers, and from the steps of the U.S. Capitol and the center of Trafalgar Square, Blain’s female historical actors fought for a black nationalism that was constituted on their own terms. Featuring an impressive archive and transnational in scope, every single chapter in this book offers serious interventions, contributions, and reinterpretations of familiar historical narratives. Set the World on Fire helps us to better understand and grapple with the contradictions and struggles that often arise in our most important and most meaningful political movements.
2017 > Sasha Turner. Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).
2016 > Marisa J. Fuentes. Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.
2015 > Talitha L. LeFlouria. Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.
2014 > Susanah Shaw Romney. New Netherland Connections: Intimate Networks and Atlantic Ties in Seventeenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 2014.
2013 > Camille Robcis. The Law of Kinship: Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, and the Family in Twentieth-Century France, Cornell University Press, 2013.
For a first book in any field of history that does not focus on the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2019 > Sarah A. Seo, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2019).
Finalist for this award: Amy C. Offner, Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of the Welfare and Developmental State in the Americas (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019).
2018 > Christine M. DeLucia, Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018).
Encompassing centuries of ancestral Algonquian history, Memory Lands offers a revolutionary rewriting of history via the study of topophilia — women’s and men’s senses of place, and their attachment to place — to offer an ethnohistorical account of how Algonquian communities have reconstituted their experience as colonized people. Most impressively, DeLucia makes these moves in order to forefront Algonquian peoples’ understanding of memory, loss, and history. Focusing on the conflict known as King Philip’s War, the book provides astute analysis of how Algonquian people commemorated this event, and how English colonizers and their descendants simultaneously maintained their own narratives of it in ways that served to erase Indigenous history. Drawing upon material objects, oral histories, archaeological data, proceedings of memorial associations, newspapers, photographs, diaries, property documentation, and local government records, Memory Lands offers an unconventional and revealing configuration of history that allows the author to demonstrate that there are sites where people make memories, and places where they grapple with history, and that these sites shape our understanding of change over time. A breathtaking study of remembrance and place which lies at the intersection of multiple fields, Memory Lands offers a major contribution to American Studies, US History, North American Ethnohistory, and Memory Studies. This heady, powerful book urges us to rethink the ways that we practice history, especially of topics that are simultaneously so painful and so important.
2017 > S. Debora Kang, The INS on the Line: Making Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917-1954 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
2016 > Anya Zilberstein. A Temperate Empire: Making Climate Change in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
2015 > Vanessa Ogle. The Global Transformation of Time, 1870-1950. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
2014 > Tatiana Seijas. Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: from Chinos to Indians. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
2013 > Teresa Barnett, Sacred Relics: Pieces of the Past in Nineteenth-Century America, University of Chicago Press, 2013.