J. Russell Major Prize
The American Historical Association awards the J. Russell Major Prize annually for the best work in English on any aspect of French history. The prize was established in memory of J. Russell Major, the distinguished scholar of French history who died on December 12, 1998, at the age of 77. Major served on the history faculty at Emory University from 1949 until his retirement in 1990, and wrote 10 books, including Representative Government in Early Modern France and From Renaissance Monarchy to Absolute Monarchy: French Kings, Nobles and Estates. The general rules for submission are:
- Books with a copyright of 2015 are eligible for the 2016 award.
- Nominators must complete an online prize submission form for each book submitted.
- One copy of each entry must be sent to each committee member and clearly labeled “Major Prize Entry.” Electronic copies may be sent only to committee members who have indicated they will accept them.
Please Note: Entries must be postmarked or transmitted by May 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016 competition. Entries will not be returned. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2016 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver.
For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.
Review committee contact information and the prize submission form for the next prize year will be posted by March 31.
2015 Major Prize
Michael Kwass, Johns Hopkins Univ.
Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground (Harvard Univ. Press)
Michael Kwass’s Contraband tells the gripping tale of an 18th-century gentleman smuggler, framed in the context of emerging global capitalism and the Old Regime French state’s brutal attempts to stamp out underground markets. Deeply researched and engagingly written, this fine book challenges readers to think over the long term about how porous borders have conflicted with state efforts to regulate consumer demand—a situation that engenders violence and may delegitimize the regime itself.