The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians is pleased to announce the following awards for books and articles published in 2017.
For a first book in any field of history that does not focus on the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
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.
For a first book that deals substantially with the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
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.
2018-2019 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
2018 > Satyasikha Chakraborty, “European Nurses and Governesses in Indian Princely Households: “Uplifting that impenetrable veil”?” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 19/1 (Spring 2018).
For article in any field of history other than the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality
2018> Kimberly A. Arkin, “Historicity, Peoplehood, and Politics: Holocaust Talk in Twenty-First-Century France.” Contemporary Studies in Society and History 60/4 (October 2018).
Yumi Kim, “Seeing Cages: Home Confinement in Early Twentieth-Century Japan.” The Journal of Asian Studies 77/3 (August 2018).
2017-2018 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