For a first book that deals substantially with the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2015 > Talitha L. LeFlouria. Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.
Citation: Talithia L. LeFlouria’s Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South is a pathbreaking study that puts African American women’s convict labor center stage, from Reconstruction through the 1930s. With vivid, poignant descriptions, this book artfully recreates the distinctive and disturbing world of black women’s prison labor. Inmates moved well beyond women’s traditional agricultural and domestic work to toil in brickyards foundries, and sawmills, for instance, under an expanding penal system that looked frighteningly similar to the system of slavery that had supposedly been dismantled after the Civil War. Alongside its examination of labor, the book also highlights the penal codes and the status of black female prisoners, compares them to their male counterparts, uncovers the centrality of physical and sexual violence to their experience of imprisonment, and chronicles their resistance. Powerfully written, carefully researched, and richly documented, Chained in Silence resonates with contemporary debates about race and incarceration. This is a field-changing book.
Finalists for this award
- Sara Fieldston. Raising the World: Child Welfare in the American Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
- Olivia Weisser. Ill Composed: Sickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England. New Haven: Yale University 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
2015 > Vanessa Ogle. The Global Transformation of Time, 1870-1950. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
Citation: Vanessa Ogle’s, The Global Transformation of Time, 1870-1950 is an ambitious and inventive transnational examination of how time was understood, managed, marked, and recorded across the world at the turn of the twentieth century. Using English, French, German, and Arabic sources, Ogle shows that debates about how to mark time and create a standard system of telling time became a feature of national and international conversations between philosophers, scientists, businesspeople, religious authorities, and national and anti-colonial leaders. She contests the idea that keeping time emanated from elites in the so-called west. Instead, she argues that as the world became better connected from the late nineteenth century onward (through, for instance, the telegraph and railroads), these networks pressured nations and localities to adopt standardized times. Remarkable in scope, richly documented, and beautifully written, Ogle shows how time became a global obsession in the modern era, and how it was resolved in distinct ways depending on locality and historical context.
Finalists for this award
- Sanya Aiyar. Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
- Ruramisai Charumbira. Imagining a Nation: History and Memory in Making Zimbabwe. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015.
- Dana Simmons. Vital Minimum: Need, Science, and Politics in Modern France. Chicago: University of Chicago 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.