From the 1999 Annual Meeting column in the March 1999 Perspectives
Awards Conferred at the 1999 Annual Meeting
AHA Staff, March 1999
1998 Award for Scholarly Distinction
In 1984 the Council of the AHA established the American Historical Association Award for Scholarly Distinction. Each year a nominating jury composed of three former presidents recommends to the Council up to three names for the award and the Council then selects up to three names from the list presented. Nominees are senior historians of the highest distinction in the historical profession who have spent the bulk of their professional careers in the United States. Previous awards have gone to Nettie Lee Benson, Woodrow Borah, Alfred D. Chandler Jr., Angie Debo, Helen G. Edmonds, Felix Gilbert, John W. Hall, H. Stuart Hughes, Margaret Atwood Judson, George F. Kennan, Paul Oskar Kristeller, Gerhart B. Ladner, Gerda Lerner, August Meier, Edmund Morgan, George L. Mosse, H. Leon Prather Sr., Benjamin Quarles, Edwin O. Reischauer, Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, Caroline Robbins, Carl E. Schorske, Benjamin I. Schwartz, Kenneth M. Setton, Kenneth M. Stampp, Chester E. Starr, Barbara and Stanley Stein, Lawrence Stone, Merze Tate, Emma Lou Thornbrough, Brian Tierney, and George R. Woolfolk.
Joining this distinguished list are Tulio Halperin Donghi (Univ. of California at Berkeley), and Robert O. Paxton (Columbia Univ.). President-elect Darnton read the following citations at the general meeting.
Tulio Halperin Donghi, the Muriel McKevitt Sonne Professor of Latin American History emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, is one of the most distinguished Latin Americanist historians alive today. Beyond his astounding productivity and erudition, his scholarly work has helped strengthen the understanding of Latin American perspectives among Anglophone historians, while at the same time bringing nonideological approaches to Argentine history.
He received his doctorate at the University of Buenos Aires in 1955. Among those influencing him were the exiled Spanish medievalist Claudio Sanchez Albornoz, the Argentine medievalist and modern intellectual historian Jose Luis Romero, and, during a year of studies in Paris, Fernand Braudel. His first 11 years of teaching he spent at the universities of the Litoral and Buenos Aires. Already a well-known historian, by the early 1960s he had become a key member of a circle of young Argentine intellectuals who incisively criticized the dominant polarized visions of Argentine history and society. With academic freedom severely restricted by a new military dictatorship, in 1966 Donghi joined in the mass resignations from the University of Buenos Aires. After brief sojourns at Cambridge University; Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo; Harvard University; and Oxford University, in 1971, he joined the history department of the University of California at Berkeley where he taught until his retirement in 1994.
Donghi is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 1976 Clarence Haring Prize from the AHA for the best book published by a Latin American author between 1971 and 1975; the 1994 Distinguished Service Award from the Conference of Latin American History; three honorary doctorates from Argentine universities; the "University Medal" of the University of Santiago, Chile; and appointment as profesor-ad-honorem of the Universidad de la República, Montevideo, and, in 1981, to the prestigious Alfonso Casos Chair at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma of Mexico City.
Donghi's scholarly oeuvre is not easy to pigeonhole, because it eschews monocausal explanations and encompasses different historiographical approaches, from economic and social history to political and intellectual history. His 16 authored books to date treat topics from medieval Spain to the late 20th century, but are mostly concerned with Latin American and Argentine history between the 18th century and the present. His most influential work has been The Contemporary History of Latin America, originally published in 1967. With editions in Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Swedish, and English, by 1993 the book had gone through 13 Spanish editions, and stands as the most widely read history of modern Latin America in the Hispanic world during the second half of the 20th century. While Contemporary History offers a powerful indictment of international and domestic structures holding back the full development of the Latin American nation-states and their multifarious social and ethnic groups, it celebrates the rich variety of political and cultural movements that have tried to push forward distinct agendas. Just as importantly, Donghi's copious works on his native country have reshaped our understanding of many major problems in modern Argentine history.
For Donghi no group or nation, no civilization or major region of the world is destined to live forever with characteristics once acquired—such as highly unequal income distribution, or dependency. Nor can the failures of one era—for example, those of Argentina from Peron to the murderous military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983—be described as the inevitable outcome of what has gone before. Thus, Donghi has always looked askance at a cultural determinist juxtaposition of protestant, pragmatic, and utilitarian Anglo-America and catholic, ascriptive, and rent-seeking Latin America. Such decontextualized cultural comparisons seem to him unhelpful in explaining the trajectory of the two regions. In stressing how each generation is responsible for what happens on "its watch," he injects a powerful liberal antidote into the static and cyclical depictions of Latin America that until recently were so frequent among the region's writers.
Donghi clearly stands as the dean of historians in Argentina. With an oeuvre that is anything but easy to understand, his stature is due to the scope of his studies and their uncompromising analytical depth. An intellectual broker between the North Atlantic world and Argentina, Donghi has remained fully engaged in Argentina's Byzantine and exciting intellectual life even after 32 years of living abroad. Avoiding close identification with any of the ideological fronts that had penetrated academia so deeply in his and the subsequent Argentine generations, Donghi's writings have been important in helping Argentine intellectuals to come to terms with the ghosts of their past.
In the United States he has become so influential among Latin Americanists because he represents the best of Latin America's scholarly traditions—in its catholic scope, its humane and sympathetic portrayal of past societies and cultures, and its intellectual sophistication and complexity.
If it were not such a cliché, one might say that Tulio Halperin Donghi is as close to a "Renaissance man" as one could get in the late 20th century. There seems little—at least outside of the natural sciences—that does not interest him, and he can speak with as much clarity and authority about Gramsci's conception of state–civil society relations at a meeting of Marxism specialists, as about European solutions for solid-waste removal, or indeed the latest generation of Latin American soap operas. Living and studying appear to be seamlessly connected for him, tied by ceaseless observation, reading, reflection, and writing. Not surprisingly, he approaches his work with a profound sense of humor about the human comedy, although balancing it with a sense of caring.
Tulio Halperin Donghi is a man at the pinnacle of his profession, whose profound impact both here and abroad has already proven to outlast particular vogues and intellectual fashions. He is most deserving of this high distinction.
Robert O. Paxton, who is currently professor emeritus at Columbia University, is one of the preeminent historians of modern France. He earned his BA degree in 1954 at Washington and Lee University; continued his studies as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a BA and MA in 1956; and completed his PhD at Harvard University in 1963, where he worked with H. Stuart Hughes and Stanley Hoffmann. Although Robert Paxton has spent most of his career at Columbia University, where he was named the Mellon Professor of the Social Sciences, he spent the early years of his career at the University of California at Berkeley, and at SUNY, Stony Brook.
Robert Paxton's two most influential books on Vichy France, Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940–1944, published in the United States in 1972 and translated into French the following year, and the book he coauthored with Michael R. Marrus, Vichy France and the Jews, published in France and the United States in 1981, have quite literally reshaped the historiography of the Vichy era. Like Marcel Ophuls's film, The Sorrow and the Pity, which also appeared in the early 1970s, Paxton's Vichy France demonstrated that the Vichy regime collaborated with the Nazis, not simply because of external German pressure or to shield France from direct German control so as to covertly resist German demands, an argument put forth by Marshal Pétain, Pierre Laval, and other Vichy officials after the war. Rather, Paxton offered convincing evidence that Vichy leaders, in deciding to cooperate with the Nazis, were pursuing their own ideological goals, that is, the implementation of a conservative and authoritarian "National Revolution," based on the antirepublican, antidemocratic, and antiliberal ideology long espoused by the French far right. Paxton thus shattered the long-standing Gaullist myth that France, even under Vichy, had remained at heart a nation of resisters, and he demonstrated that an important sector of the French political elite, and of French society in general, perceived the defeat of 1940 less as a catastrophe than as an opportunity to score a major victory in what he called "the French civil war."
While Vichy France devoted considerable attention to the anti-Jewish policies of the Vichy regime, Paxton further elaborated on this theme in his book, Vichy France and the Jews, coauthored with Michael Marrus. In this book, Paxton and Marrus offered conclusive evidence that Vichy France's anti-Jewish policies, including the implementation of anti-Jewish legislation, the internment of foreign Jews, and ultimately the deportation of Jews to the death camps in Poland between 1942 and 1944, were not merely the result of German pressure. Rather, they argued that Vichy leaders, in implementing much of this anti-Jewish program, were acting out of indigenous French rather than German impulses. They furthermore demonstrated that the anti-Jewish policies of the Vichy regime were not marginal, as many French historians had previously contended. Rather, according to Paxton and Marrus, these anti-Jewish policies stood at the very heart of the Vichy enterprise. The effort to root out the enemy within—Jews, Freemasons, and communists—was in reality part and parcel of the regime's broad-based attack on the revolutionary heritage of 1789.
Paxton's work represents contemporary scholarship at its very best. Vichy France and Vichy France and the Jews both make powerful and challenging arguments, but they are at the same time judicious in their reasoning and grounded in French and German archival research; indeed, Paxton was the first to make extensive use of German archival sources in his analysis of the Vichy regime. Moreover, these two works have had an enduring impact, particularly in France. As Kim Munholland has noted in a 1994 review (in French Historical Studies) of recent French scholarship on the Vichy era "for all of the efforts to go beyond Paxton's fundamental text on Vichy, the findings and most of the conclusion of that work . . .remain the foundation for all subsequent work on Vichy."
Yet Paxton's books are more than outstanding examples of historical scholarship. Their authoritative and balanced interpretations have been of critical importance in France's recent coming to grips with its Vichy past and with Vichy's role in the genocide of the Jews in particular. Few if any American scholars have played so important a part in shaping the way another country has dealt with the traumatic and often shameful aspects of its history during the Nazi era.
Even the French government has recognized Paxton's enormous impact on contemporary debates about the Vichy past. In 1994 it called on Paxton to serve as an expert witness in the state's case against Paul Touvier (a member of the Milice, a pro-German militia sponsored by Vichy, and who was involved in anti-Jewish and anti-Resistance atrocities in Lyons). In 1997 the government again called on Paxton to serve as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial of Maurice Papon (the former secretary general of the Gironde prefecture who authorized the deportation of some 1,600 Jews from Bordeaux). In recognition of his outstanding contribution to France's attempt to come to terms with its past, the French government named Paxton an officier in the Ordre National du Mérite in 1992 and a commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1996.
Although Robert Paxton is best known for his work on Vichy France, he has many other achievements to his credit. His textbook, Europe in the Twentieth Century, is without question the leading textbook on 20th-century Europe. Most recently, Robert Paxton has published a study on French agrarian fascism—French Peasant Fascism: Henry Dorgères' Greenshirts and the Crisis of French Agriculture, 1929–1939 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), which makes a major contribution to our understanding of French rural politics in the 1930s, a subject that has hitherto attracted little attention. Furthermore, by situating his study within a broad comparative framework, Paxton sheds new light on reasons for the relative failure of rural fascism in France, as opposed to the success of similar movements in Italy and Germany.
Currently, Paxton is working on a reassessment of fascism. His recent article, "The Five Phases of Fascism" in the Journal of Modern History (March 1998), a comparative study of fascist movements, promises to break several long-standing logjams in the study of this controversial subject, by shifting our focus away from fascist ideology and toward fascist practice, and by analyzing the kinds of political alliances that permitted fascists to come to power,.
In addition to his numerous books and articles, Robert Paxton has also served as an important public historian, as his numerous reviews in the New York Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement as well as his role as consultant to Claude Chabrol for the French TV documentary film L'Oeil de Vichy (TF1, 1993) illustrate. Robert Paxton's judgments in these more popular formats are always judicious, balanced, and well informed, and he writes with a clarity of prose that is all too rare these days. Robert Paxton has also shown great dedication to the historical profession. He continues to serve on the board of directors of the French American Foundation, and he has served on the AHA nominating committee, as well as the George Louis Beer and the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize Committees. He has also served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern History, French Historical Studies, and Military Affairs.
One aspect of Robert Paxton's career that may not be apparent to those not affiliated with any of the three institutions where he has taught is his extraordinary role as a teacher and mentor. Robert Paxton has trained numerous scholars working in the fields of French and modern European history today, and his students will forever be indebted to him for the enormous time and energy he invested in their work. The many books that grew out of dissertations sponsored by Robert Paxton would never have been of such high caliber without the benefit of his direction. Moreover, Robert Paxton has always been an excellent colleague, always generous and helpful in his comments and criticisms. This aspect of his career, as well as the enduring influence of his scholarship, were recognized in September 1997 when a number of his former students organized an international conference, "To Overcome a Past: Vichy France and the Historians," to honor Paxton's achievement upon his retirement from Columbia.
In light of Robert Paxton's decisive influence on the fields of modern French and modern European history, and in light of the critical role he has played in shaping France's understanding of its Vichy past, it is most fitting for the AHA to honor Robert Paxton with the 1998 Award for Scholarly Distinction.
Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award
Established in 1986, the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teaching and advocacy for history teaching at two-year, four-year, and graduate colleges and universities. The award is named for the late Eugene Asher, for many years a leading advocate for history teaching. The Society for History Education (SHE) shares with the AHA sponsorship of the award. It recognizes inspiring teachers whose techniques and mastery of subject matter made a lasting impression and substantial difference to students of history. Members of the AHA and SHE submit nominations to the Committee on Teaching Prizes.
Edward Berenson, professor of history and French studies at New York University, is this year's recipient of the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award. President-elect Darnton read the committee's citation: "Professor Berenson is both a distinguished teacher of history and a leader in the efforts to improve the quality of history teaching at the state and local level. As a faculty member at the University of California at Los Angeles, he was a highly effective teacher of both graduate and undergraduate students, receiving the university's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991. In addition, he was a faculty leader in the university-wide effort to reform the undergraduate General Education Program. In 1990, Berenson became the founding executive director of the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP), a state-funded organization devoted to joining university historians and K–12 teachers in a common effort to improve history education. Under his leadership, the CHSSP grew to include 10 university professional development sites for teachers offering summer institutes involving hundreds of K–12 teachers and college faculty. These faculty in turn worked with other colleagues as the impact of the project multiplied throughout the state. In addition to this successful project, Professor Berenson has also been actively involved in the drafting of parts of the national history standards as well as the California History-Social Science Framework, the curricular outline for California public school students. Professor Berenson is a distinguished teacher of history who has done much to improve the quality of history teaching beyond his own classroom."
Beveridge Family Teaching Award
Established in 1995, this prize honors the Beveridge family's long-standing commitment to the AHA and to K–12 teaching. Friends and family members endowed this award to recognize excellence and innovation in elementary, middle, and secondary-school history teaching, including career contributions and specific initiatives. The individual can be recognized either for individual excellence in teaching or for an innovative initiative applicable to the entire field. It is offered on a two-cycle rotation: in even-numbered years, to an individual; in odd-numbered years, to a group. The prize was first offered in 1996. The 1998 prize was given to an individual teacher.
President-elect Darnton announced that the third award would be given to Henry John Assetto of Gordon Middle School in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. The Committee on Teaching Prizes' citation stated that "Henry John Assetto has had an exemplary career as a middle-school history teacher, a leader in curriculum development and coordination for his school district, and as a model and mentor for a large number of aspiring teachers. He has taught eighth grade history for nearly 30 years and many of his students characterize their experiences in his classes as life changing in the ways in which they were involved in learning about other times and other cultures. Henry Assetto has also brought his insights and experience as a successful teacher to the role of longtime curriculum coordinator for his district. His efforts significantly enhanced the professional quality of the curriculum and, along with his innovative multicultural programs, helped his school to receive recognition at the state and national level. Henry Assetto has also spent two decades as a mentor to student teachers, cooperating with local universities in the training of new teachers and receiving plaudits from many of them for his efforts on their behalf. The committee believes that Henry John Assetto epitomizes the excellence in K–12 teaching that the Beveridge Family Teaching Prize was established to recognize and applaud."
John E. O'Connor Film Award
In recognition of his exceptional role as a pioneer in both teaching and research regarding film and history, the American Historical Association established this award in honor of John E. O'Connor of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The award seeks to recognize outstanding interpretations of history through the medium of film or video. Essential elements are stimulation of thought, imaginative use of the media, effective presentation of information and ideas, sensitivity to modern scholarship, and accuracy. The production should encourage viewers to ask questions about historical interpretations as well as make a contribution to the understanding of history.
The sixth O'Connor Award was presented to The War Symphonies: Shostakovich versus Stalin, produced by Larry Weinstein, production company Rhombus Media. President-elect Darnton read the committee's citation: "The War Symphonies is a documentary of great power and originality, which is notable for its skill in telling a complex story without a narrator. Instead, the words are derived from two sources: quotations from the participants in the struggle between Shostakovich and Stalin, and interviews with contemporary observers of that struggle. The result is a remarkable evocation of a crucial era in Soviet history, a stirring demonstration of the force of music, even in political affairs, and a fascinating explication of the historical meanings hidden in major
Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award
In recognition of Nancy Lyman Roelker's role as a teacher, scholar, and committee member of the historical profession, and on the occasion of her 75th birthday, friends, colleagues, and former students established the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. The annual award recognizes and encourages a special quality exemplified by Professor Roelker through the human component in her teaching of history.
Mentoring should encompass not only a belief in the value of the study of history but also a commitment to and a love of teaching it to students regardless of age or career goals. Advising is an essential component, but it also combines a consistent personal commitment by the mentor to the student as a person. Offering a human alternative, frequently in quiet and unacknowledged ways, mentors like Professor Roelker believe that the essence of history lies in its human scope. With this award, the American Historical Association attests to the special role of mentors to the future of the historical profession.
The award is given on a three-cycle rotation to graduate, undergraduate, and secondary-school teacher mentors. Nominations for the 1998 prize were for the graduate level. President-elect Darnton read the following citation:
Estelle B. Freedman of Stanford University is the recipient of the seventh annual Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award. She exemplifies the qualities of the quintessential mentor. Her career underscores the premise and qualities of mentorship: being forthright, support, constructively critical, and maintaining a commitment to students as individuals.
Professor Freedman's mentoring style has earned high praise from many of her former students who recognize in her those essential qualities that have shaped their own careers. One former student noted that "she never told me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear." Another added that "...Estelle makes mentoring look so easy, a central part of her role as a teacher, a reward in and of itself." Yet to others, Professor Freedman was "an oasis of calm strength and wisdom" and a mentor of "unassailable integrity." Professor Freedman's commitment to her students has shaped their personal and professional lives. One recalled asking "how I could every repay her for all the help she had given me throughout the years. She then told me, with complete sincerity, that the best way to repay her was to be a good adviser to my own students." For this reason, Professor Freedman epitomizes for many of her students the model teacher and mentor.
As the seventh annual recipient of the Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award, Estelle B. Freedman's name has been added to the distinguished list of honored mentors who have enriched, inspired, and nurtured students in both their professional and personal lives.
Honorary Foreign Member
At its second annual meeting in Saratoga in 1885, the newly appointed Committee on Nominations for Honorary Membership introduced a resolution, which was adopted, that appointed Leopold von Ranke as the first honorary foreign member. In the intervening 113 years, only 85 individuals have been so honored. Previously selected biennially, selection is now made annually, honoring a foreign scholar who is distinguished in his or her field and who has "notably aided the work of American historians."
President-elect Darnton announced the addition of Manuel R. Moreno Fraginals of Cuba.
Manuel Moreno has been Cuba's most influential and outstanding historian during the last four decades. He has made many distinguished scholarly contributions relating to Cuban history, particularly the history of Cuban sugar and slavery. He has been a most generous scholar in helping foreign historians work in and about Cuba, under what can only be described as sometimes difficult conditions. This has included scholarly help with questions as well as arrangements for access to archives within Cuba. His works on Cuban slavery, particularly El Ingenio, have been the central works on Cuba drawn upon by U.S. scholars in their comparative studies of slavery in America. Much of the current views on sugar and slavery in Cuba have been shaped by Dr. Moreno's writings and by scholarly interactions with him. Dr. Moreno's major work, El Ingenio, first published in 1964, has been translated into several different languages including English (as The Sugarmill), for which he received the AHA's Clarence Haring Prize for the best book in Latin American history in 1982. A three-volume edition, currently available only in Spanish, was published in 1977.
One measure of Dr. Moreno's value to the profession is the frequency with which scholars in other countries seek him out and find him helpful. He has received appointments at U.S. institutions, traveled extensively throughout this country, and has worked collaboratively with American scholars. His relationship with American historians goes well beyond these visits and collaborative projects, however. Virtually every American scholar who has conducted research on Cuba has benefited from his work. He has also lent his support, advice, and friendship to many American scholars of Cuban history. It was through Dr. Moreno that many young historians in Cuba "discovered" the studies of slavery, plantation societies, and abolition that were being conducted in the United States and to which American scholars had no access. In supporting Dr. Moreno's nomination, colleagues state that he "was....a silent ambassador for American historians" to Cuba. And that "despite the uncontrollable circumstances that forced him several times into unwelcome exile, he continued to research thoroughly and to write actively and to inspire his fellow scholars all with uncommon devotion and impeccable excellence." Another said, "Whatever we have achieved, we owe it largely to him."
The American Historical Association is honored to acknowledge Manuel Moreno Fraginals's role in the international community of historians by selecting him as the Honorary Foreign Member for 1998.
1998 Book Awards
At the annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the following prizes were announced for the year 1998. The committee's citations are recorded below:
Herbert Baxter Adams Prize
David Nirenberg (Rice Univ.) for Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton Univ. Press, 1996). In this subtle, deeply researched, theoretically sophisticated work, David Nirenberg contends that much of the violence against minorities that he finds in early 14th-century France and in the Crown of Aragon was aimed, not at eliminating minorities, but at maintaining boundaries. He also argues, against an influential historiographical tradition, that violence against minorities may perhaps best be seen as arising, not out of ancestral popular prejudice, but out of contingencies prevailing at specific times and places.
George Louis Beer Prize
Jeffrey Herf (Ohio Univ.) for Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (Harvard Univ. Press, 1997). Divided Memory presents a masterful account of the interrelationship between memory of the Nazi past, the Holocaust, and political developments in the two Germanys. Based on extensive and pathbreaking new research in both East and West German archives, it places these two contrasting patterns within the broader context of German history and the international relations of the cold war, and is particularly illuminating with regard to policy and doctrine in East Germany. Its scope is not, however, limited to Germany alone, serving to enrich a broader understanding of the postwar period.
Albert J. Beveridge Award
Philip D. Morgan (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Coll. of William and Mary) for Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Univ. of North Carolina Press for Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1998). Ingeniously framed as a comparison between slave societies in the Chesapeake and the Lowcountry, Slave Counterpoint beautifully reconstructs the variety and complexity of the African American slave experience in the 18th century. Morgan deftly synthesizes existing demographic and archeological scholarship with his own pathbreaking—and prodigious—research. For all its wealth of detail and nuance, Morgan's narrative is refreshingly lucid. Slave Counterpoint is at once the summation of a generation's worth of painstaking scholarship and the starting point for future research.
Paul Birdsall Prize
John F. Beeler (Univ. of Alabama) for British Naval Policy in the Gladstone-Disraeli Era, 1866–1880 (Stanford Univ. Press, 1997). John Beeler has written a book whose significance goes well beyond naval and strategic history. He shows the vulnerability of British power at precisely the moment when that power seemed at its zenith. Technological change, the global economy of empire, and the Gladstone-Disraeli rivalry all shaped British naval policy at least as much as any external threat. Through prodigious research, Beeler crafts a bold and elegant survey of how naval and political cultures of the hegemonic power of the day faced the challenges and dilemmas of modernity.
Albert Corey Prize
Elizabeth Vibert (Univ. of Victoria) for Traders' Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807–1846 (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1997). Elizabeth Vibert's work contributes to our understanding of both the native peoples of this time and place and their British and eastern North American observers. The work contains critiques of the historic narratives of fur traders and travelers, organized into topical chapters. Vibert analyzes how the cultural backgrounds of these observers shaped perceptions of the peoples and landscapes they encountered. The result is a sophisticated and fascinating cross-cultural study, a model of its type.
John K. Fairbank Prize
Louise Young (New York Univ.) for Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism (Univ. of California Press, 1998). Louise Young explores how Japanese expansion in the 1930s combined a vast array of state and private interests to construct Manchuria into the jewel in the crown of Japan's imperial ambitions. She shows how a broad spectrum of the Japanese public envisioned, experienced, and constructed the dream of total empire. This book is oriented more toward European theories of empires than to East Asian comparisons between China and Japan.
Herbert Feis Award
Ann Vileisis (independent scholar) for Discovering the Unknown Landscape: A History of America's Wetlands (Island Press, 1997). Discovering the Unknown Landscape imaginatively explores the metaphoric and physical history of America's wetlands and makes visible struggles to preserve this valuable natural resource as a public policy issue. The book traces the history of American perceptions and uses of wetlands—from an early fascination and fear of "miasmic evil" to contemporary efforts to preserve wetlands against economic development and ecological disaster. Through historical, literary, and environmental sources, Vileisis reveals the larger historical forces at work in the use and abuse of the continent's resources. Conflicts over common use versus private ownership, government control versus individual development, and customary rights versus special interests have led to conflicting claims, misunderstandings, and abuses of wetlands areas. As an independent scholar, Vileisis is to be commended for a study that analyzes the competing cultural values that support the impulses to expropriate and preserve nature's bounty.
Leo Gershoy Award
Carla Rahn Phillips and William D. Phillips Jr. (Univ. of Minnesota) for Spain's Golden Fleece: Wool Production and the Wool Trade from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1997). Spain's Golden Fleece redefines the economic history of early modern Spain by arriving at fresh conclusions about one of its key sectors. Overturning long-standing criticisms of wool production, it demonstrates the suitability of large-scale herding to Spain's social interests and natural conditions. It reveals, too, the continuing vitality of the Spanish textile industry in what was once thought to be a declining economy. The Phillipses have integrated ecology, economy, demography, and politics in a work written with flawless clarity.
Joan Kelly Memorial Prize
Ellen Carol DuBois (UCLA) for Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage (Yale Univ. Press, 1997). Spanning centuries and crisscrossing the Atlantic, this biography illuminates feminist generations through the life of Harriot Stanton Blatch, who sustained the legacy of her more famous mother Elizabeth Cady Stanton, passed a postsuffragist agenda to her daughter, and forged a left feminist politics that, without institutional legacy, became forgotten. With verve and insight, Ellen Carol DuBois shifts historiographical attention from the vote to politics, revising the standard story of women's rights in the process.
Barry Cushman (Univ. of Virginia) for Rethinking the New Deal Court. The Structure of a Constitutional Revolution (Oxford Univ. Press, 1998). Barry Cushman's book provides a powerful revision of the famous "switch in time" of the Supreme Court in 1937, which has been conventionally interpreted as a political capitulation to the electoral triumph of the New Deal. Rethinking the New Deal Court demonstrates that the abandonment of the paradigm of laissez-faire constitutionalism was the product of a steady unraveling of an intellectual system beginning decades earlier, and that the accommodation of social and economic legislation was the culmination of a profound redefinition of the distinction between "public" and "private" in constitutional jurisprudence. The book's method—an astute and skillful examination of the internal legal debates of the judges' mental world—will compel scholars and jurists to reevaluate the process by which constitutional change occurs.
Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize
Anthony L. Cardoza (Loyola Univ. of Chicago) for Aristocrats in Bourgeois Italy: The Piedmontese Nobility, 1861–1930 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997). Anthony Cardoza's study stands out for thorough research, sound conceptualizations, and imaginative use of documents. The issue that it confronts is that of the role of the nobility in a world increasingly influenced by democratic practices and by new forces of production. The study follows the Piedmontese nobility through these transformations, documenting both its relative loss of economic power and its retention of political and social influence in the national state thanks to its base of support in the countryside, close relations with church and crown, and traditions of public service. Professor Cardoza explores the nobility's strategy for survival with keen sensitivity to the changing attributes of power, the symbolic significance of nobiliar titles and lifestyles, and the role of informal networks of influence based on clubs, schools, and family ties. The nobility's strategy for survival emerges from this study as marked by adaptability and resilience in the face of change, its decline slower and less precipitous than previously envisioned. With its imaginative use of new documentation, enlightening references to developments in other countries, and firm grasp of the complexities and subtleties of historical change, this study improves significantly our understanding of the role of the Italian and European nobilities.
Premio del Rey Prize
Simon Barton (Univ. of Exeter) for The Aristocracy in Twelfth-Century León and Castile (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997). This book deals with a major historical subject from the sources, including unprinted archival sources, with imaginative sweep and depth. It places the problems of status, family, property, and economic constraints in comparative contexts, while distinguishing clearly between the greater nobility of the royal courts and the lesser knights. Well organized and readable, this welcome study will help to bring the peculiarities of elite experience in the Spanish realms to the attention of a wide readership.
James Harvey Robinson Prize
Eileen H. Tamura, Linda K. Menton, Noren W. Lush, Francis K. C. Tsui, and Warren Cohen (Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa) for China: Understanding Its Past (Curriculum Research and Development Group, University of Hawaii and the Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1997). This work is an extraordinary collaboration; the writing is seamless and completely accessible to the nonspecialist. The authors use an array of biographical, visual, and sound materials to bring each era to life: maps, art reproductions, photographs, and a compact disc of music and sounds are all striking. The Robinson Prize Committee felt that given its brevity and attractiveness, this would be an excellent text not only on China but to use in world history classes.
Philip D. Morgan (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Coll. of William and Mary) for Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Univ. of North Carolina Press for Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1998). In this book Philip Morgan has tackled an enormously complex set of themes in pursuit of his main objective to decode the multiple meanings and forms of black culture, derived from and shaped by the experience of slavery, in the Chesapeake and the Lowcountry during the 18th century. Morgan explores a staggeringly wide range of issues imaginatively and insightfully, drawing on a similarly wide range of sources to show that several quite powerful currents of forces shaped black culture, and that among them the agency of people of African descent was decisive. The analysis in this deeply probing historical investigation is meticulous, courageous, and intellectually stimulating, raising and answering troublesome questions and pointing to numerous new areas for further inquiry. Morgan's work has set standards of excellence in scholarship about the African diaspora that will be hard to surpass.
By committee decision the James Henry Breasted Prize was not awarded in 1998.