The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians is pleased to announce the following awards for books and articles published in 2017.
For a first book that deals substantially with the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2017> Sasha Turner. Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).
Bringing together histories of women, gender, and sexuality with those of abolitionism, Turner’s book offers a history of the experiences of enslaved women in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Jamaica, showing how these women were cast as reproductive laborers by the abolitionists who claimed to seek their freedom. Recognizing that slave owners and abolitionists held different values and views about the value of enslaved women’s bodies, Turner employs insightful analyses to examine how British abolitionist men reified patriarchal relations in promoting reproduction as the primary purpose of an enslaved woman’s life. Throughout the book, Turner never loses sight of the experiences of enslaved women themselves, illuminating how unfree women maintained their own childbirth and child-rearing rituals, resisting outside efforts to control their reproduction. This results in a fresh and dynamic take, showcasing best practices for historians who seek to recover and amplify voices that have been either accidentally overlooked or deliberately silenced. The book offers a masterful synthesis of cultural history, social history, and the histories of sexuality, reproduction, and childbirth, producing a very complex book with serious implications for the field. Turner’s Contested Bodies has the potential to reach meaningfully to audiences both inside and outside of academia.
For a first book in any field of history that does not focus on the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
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).
Kang’s timely, thought-provoking book offers a history of the ways that officials from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service formulated and implemented policies and laws to manage the U.S.-Mexico border. The book sheds light on the long history of militarizing this border, showing how, over the course of the twentieth century, the U.S. Border Patrol became an increasingly aggressive government body. In contrast to today, U.S. immigration officials used to show remarkable flexibility in accommodating both a cross-border economy and cross-border cultural ties. Drawing upon the lived experience of border officials, residents, and immigrants in Arizona, California, and Texas, Kang’s book uses an impressive range of sources drawn from a deep archive, including both local and national perspectives, and balances published material with rich oral histories. The book makes wonderful contributions to many subfields, including borderlands and transnational histories, immigration studies, and the history of the U.S. government. Kang’s book offers invaluable insights into the ways that immigration policy has evolved on the nation’s southwestern board with Mexico, and how critically important it is for us to understand the long and tumultuous history of power, politics, and control on the border.
2017-2018 Berkshire Book Prizes Committee
- Amanda Herbert, Chair, Folger Library
- Christian Ayne Crouch, Bard College
- Crystal Feimster, Yale University
- Anna Krylova, Duke University
- Yumi Moon, Stanford University
- Allison Miller, The American Historical Association
- Tatiana Seijas, Pennsylvania State University
For an article in the fields of the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2017> Cassia Roth, “From Free Womb to Criminalized Woman: Fertility Control in Brazilian Slavery and Freedom.” Slavery & Abolition, 38:2
For article in any field of history other than the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2017> Carole McGranahan, “Imperial but Not Colonial: Archival Truths, British India, and the Case of the “Naughty” Tibetans.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol 59, No 1.
Vanessa Ogle, “Archipelago Capitalism: Tax Havens, Offshore Money, and the State, 1950s-1970s,” American Historical Review, 122, no. 5.
2016-2017 Berkshire Article Prizes Committee
- Jennifer Nelson, Chair, Redlands University
- Tamar Carroll, Rochester Institute of Technology
- Mita Choudhury, Vassar College
- Margaret H. Darrow, Dartmouth College
- Marisa Fuentes, Rutgers University
- Katrina Gulliver, Independent Scholar
- Shirley Lim, Stony Brook University
- Betty C. Luther-Hillman, Exeter
- Barbara Molony, Santa Clara University