On Friday 5 July, the Royal Historical Society welcomed a full lecture theatre to hear Dr Sujit Sivasundaram give the 2019 Prothero Lecture, entitled “Waves Across the South: Monarchs, Travellers and Empire in the Pacific”.
At a Reception following the Lecture, the President and Officers of the Royal Historical Society were delighted to announce the winners of the 2019 RHS Publication, Fellowship and Teaching Awards, and to welcome new Fellows and Members to the Society.
The full lists of award winners, new Fellows and Members admitted to the Society are:
Whitfield Prize 2019
For a first solely-written book on a subject within a field of British history published in the UK.
Awarded to: Ryan Hanley for a volume Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c.1770-1830 (Cambridge University Press: 2018).
Judges’ citation: This year’s submissions for the Whitfield Award featured rigorous and innovative works of historical research, many of which will endure among classic studies in their fields. That said, Ryan Hanley’s superb study, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c.1770-1830, stands apart for its audacious engagement with debates on the cultural positioning of black participants in British literary, political, and intellectual culture during a transitional period in British domestic and imperial history. Hanley’s rich and lively examination shows that black authors engaged in a comprehensive range of topics, from legal debates, the nature of celebrity, religious controversy, spiritual memoir, radical politics, to epistemology – extending far beyond the abolitionist paradigm that historians have long assumed and thus have tended to impose. Like their fellow intellectuals, black authors disagreed with each other, they led debate, cultivated their style, and courted new readers. We have Hanley to thank for drawing renewed attention to these voices, and for showing us why these authors mattered then and matter now.
Gladstone Prize 2019
For a first solely-written book on a historical subject not primarily related to British History published in the UK.
Awarded to: Duncan Hardy for a volume Associative Political Culture in the Holy Roman Empire: Upper Germany, 1346-1521 (Oxford University Press: 2018).
Judges’ citation: This is an outstanding first book and it deserves the highest of praise. Hardy builds an ambitious and convincing thesis about the structure and workings of the Holy Roman Empire in the late medieval period, arguing that it is best understood in terms of various forms of political association. This is a significant and original contribution to the historiography of the period and region. It encourages scholars to consider sixteenth-century Germany not only through the lens of the Reformation but in terms of underlying late-medieval political structures and practices. The writing is clear and precise throughout, and the author reveals a deep knowledge of the archival sources. The organisation of the book allows its argument to build steadily, and the high quality of the writing and analysis is sustained from start to finish (it also has a gorgeous front cover). Associative political culture fills a gap in the existing literature and deserves to be very widely read.
Alexander Prize 2019
For the best published scholarly journal article or an essay in a collective volume based upon original historical research.
Awarded to: Jake Richards for an article ‘Anti-Slave-Trade Law, “Liberated Africans” and the State in the South Atlantic World, c. 1839-1852’, Past and Present, 241 (2018), 170-219.
Judges’ citation: This rich and thoughtful article follows the experiences of ‘liberated Africans’ after the formal abolition of the slave trade, as the seizure of ‘prize negroes’ from slave ships opened a complicated chapter in the establishment of their rights and status. Based on detailed and wide-ranging research, tracking histories between Britain, South Africa and Brazil, the article reaches beyond existing debates to consider the experience of those who were liberated by the anti-slave patrols in the Atlantic ocean: the ways in which they understood and negotiated a way through the legal processes that faced them, and their claims to what Richards refers to as ‘unguaranteed entitlements’ in their transition from enslavement. Achieving a satisfying balance between specific cases and more general reflections, the article makes an important contribution to research, offering fresh ways of thinking about the topic and exploring the fascinating context of the port cities of Salvador da Bahia and Cape Town as testing grounds for the impact of abolition and the future prospects of the ‘liberated Africans’.
Proxime accesit: Stephanie Wright for an article ‘Glorious Brothers, Unsuitable Lovers: Moroccan Veterans, Spanish Women, and the Mechanisms of Francoist Paternalism’, Journal of Contemporary History (2018), 1-23.
Judges’ citation: With a rich base in archival work, this article explores the position of Moroccan military veterans in Spanish policy under Franco. Wright demonstrates that certain categories of disabled Moroccan veterans actually received higher levels of state support than their Spanish counterparts, but that this reflected attitudes towards them shaped by paternalism and distinctive understandings of their masculinity. Ideas about race and gender also contributed to anxieties about relationships between Moroccans and Spaniards in the period after the Civil War, which Spanish bureaucrats even tried to sabotage on occasion. Wright argues that the treatment of Moroccan veterans can be read as part of Francoist heightening of the status of Spanish masculinity, and also as a part of its management of the Moroccan protectorate. The article is well written and grounded in detailed research, offering an original and well-articulated contribution to scholarship on modern Spain, gender, race and disability.
David Berry Prize 2019
For the best published scholarly journal article or essay on a subject dealing with Scottish history.
Awarded to: Philip Loft for an article ‘Litigation, the Anglo-Scottish Union, and the House of Lords as the High Court, 1660-1875’, Historical Journal, 61 (2018), 943-967.
Judges’ citation: The judges thought that this was a very accomplished treatment of an ambitious topic, marked by a maturity of approach. It deftly analyses a substantial source base to advance new arguments about not only eighteenth-century legal history but, above all, the nature of the composite British state after the Union of 1707. The article investigates Scottish cases brought before parliament, as part of a wider body of 8,500 appeals over the period, a sample of which is analysed here. The analysis demonstrates that the number of Scottish appeals grew after 1745, and that from the 1760s Scots increasingly lobbied for legislation to promote their fisheries and linen industries. Appeals were often used as a way of forcing compromise on parties that ensured that Westminster affected only the localities and individuals involved in a case. The author convincingly argues that local interests co-opted the state in defence of their interests, thereby keeping their autonomy, as often in England too, and also briefly draws comparisons with appellate courts elsewhere in Europe, notably Castile.
Rees Davies Prize 2019
For the best dissertation submitted as part of a one-year full-time (or two-year part-time) postgraduate Master’s degree in any United Kingdom institution of Higher Education.
Awarded to: Robert Fitt for a dissertation ‘Texan textbooks: Cranks, Conservatives and the Contest for America in High School History, 1976-1986’.
Judges’ citation: This piece is beautifully written, and the prose shows real verve. In a well-argued way, it makes a significant historiographical intervention based upon the analysis activism around school textbooks. This allows the author to argue for a more germinal understanding of ideology, looking at the ways in which cultural shift occurs and redefining the scope of peripheral actors to influence that shift. There is a strong archival source base and the argument is strongly supported throughout. The dissertation features interesting discussions around the use of history, and the ways in which the shaping of narratives can influence conceptions of political norms and shape broader consensus. At times, I felt there could have been a little more agency shown for those who read the textbooks, though the focus was clearly on the authors and activists who altered the text. This was outstanding work and a real pleasure to read
Proxime accesit: Leanne Smith for a dissertation ‘“In the Revolution of Times, the Changes will run their round out, and then the Lord will come to Reign” John Rogers: A Fifth Monarchy Man’s Commonwealth of Saints’.
Judges’ citation: This was a very strong and meticulously detailed intervention into debates around republicanism in early-modern England. The dissertation shows an excellent command of the historiography and seeks to offer a more nuanced understanding of how religious thoughts influenced and intertwined with discussions of radical political change. Through close engagement with Rogers’ output, the dissertation explores the reflexive influence of millenarian beliefs on the febrile political climate of the seventeenth century and also the lingering influence of classical political philosophy.
Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching & Supervision in History 2019
Awarded to: Professor Julia Crick (King’s College London)
Judges’ citation: Professor Julia Crick receives the Jinty Nelson Award in recognition of her superlative contribution to the teaching and mentoring of younger generations of historians. Palaeography is challenging but integral to the subject of history. It underpins so much else in the field, and manuscripts in particular are windows onto much that would otherwise be inaccessible. Professor Crick has spent a life time advocating the importance of Palaeography to the global academic community and has demonstrated this specifically through her teaching and mentoring. Throughout her career (including appointments at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter, and in her current position at King’s College London), Professor Crick has been a wonderful teacher, not just of Palaeography, but also in training students of any level to think critically, to ask questions, and to build historical arguments based on visual and physical evidence. Professor Crick’s classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels bring history and palaeography to life and she mentors research students in the same way, whether they are at King’s or elsewhere, in History or in another discipline. Crick treats her students more like peers than pupils, which creates a sense that the work can be valued and taken seriously even from a very early stage. Crick’s commitment to the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation is especially evident in her establishment of networks and events that highlight postgraduate research. She has frequently organised seminars, symposia and conferences which include equal space for early career researchers. Over the course of her career, Professor Crick has demonstrated a wide-ranging and sustained commitment to inspiring and training new generations of historians to excel.
Royal Historical Society Innovation in Teaching Award 2019
Awarded to: Dr Sharon Webb and Dr James Baker (University of Sussex)
Judges’ citation: Over the last four years Drs Webb and Baker have delivered a series of first-year digital history workshop/lectures taken by all undergraduates at the University of Sussex in either History or Art History. These radically update the notion of the ‘historian’s craft’ to include the skills and practices required to engage critically with online sources (both inherited and born digital). The programme is a unique response to the challenges posed by the changes in historical research and debate, designed to turn history undergraduates into digitally savvy, expert navigators of this new landscape of knowledge. What sets the series apart is the self-conscious way in which it seeks to intervene in the history curriculum more generally. By building a skills/apprenticeship model into first-year teaching, it lays the foundations for the development of advanced approaches in the second and third year. The guiding narrative is to move gradually from ‘Doing History in the Digital Age’ to ‘Doing Digital History’ – taking students from referencing, search, and using online databases to compiling datasets, digitisation, and making data visualisations. It is this accumulation of skills, and layering of multiple approaches, that creates a comprehensive and sophisticated understanding. Second-year students move on to modules on the analysis of historical networks and the technologies of print, and then in the third year to a co-taught module on digital archiving. These same skills are also re-enforced in teaching by colleagues across the degree. The first full cohort of students introduced to these skills in their first year have now graduated. Standards of research and practice have improved across the board.
The Royal Historical Society jointly with the Institute of Historical Research has awarded the following research Fellowships:
RHS Marshall Fellowship 2019
Awarded to: Purba Hossain (University of Leeds)
For research on: ‘Situating the Coolie Question: Indentured Labour and Mid-Nineteenth-Century Calcutta’
RHS Centenary Fellowship 2019
Awarded to: Jack Newman (University of Kent)
For research on: ‘Corruption, Entropy and Conflict: Institutional Adaptation in Pre-Black Death England c.1307-1348’
Institute of Historical Research Awards
The Pollard Prize
Awarded to Helen Esfandiary (King’s College London) for her paper, given at the Life Cycles seminar, on Maternal Obligations and Knowledge of Smallpox Inoculation in Eighteenth-Century Elite Society.
The Pollard Prize is awarded annually by the Institute of Historicla Research for the best paper presented at an Institute of Historical Research seminar by a postgraduate student or by a researcher within one year of completing the PhD.
The Sir John Neale Prize
Awarded to Sarah Johanesen (King’s College London) for her essay ‘That silken Priest: Catholic disguise and anti-popery on the English Mission (1569-1640)’.
The Neale Prize is awarded annually by the Institute of Historical Research to a historian in the early stages of their career for an essay of up to 8,000 words on a theme related to the history of early modern Britain.
Giuseppe De Luca
Bruno De Nicola
Dip Chi Kon Lai
George K W Mak
Chun Kei Chow