The official publication of the North American Conference on British Studies (NACBS), the Journal of British Studies, has positioned itself as the critical resource for scholars of British culture from the Middle Ages through the present. Drawing on both established and emerging approaches, JBS presents scholarly articles and books reviews from renowned international authors who share their ideas on British society, politics, law, economics, and the arts. In 2005 (Vol. 44), the journal merged with the NACBS publication Albion, creating one journal for NACBS membership.
NACBS Awards (2010)
Prize List (see details below)
NACBS/Huntington Fellowship: Lindsay Moore (George Washington University).
Dissertation Year Fellowship: John Collins (University of Virginia).
Dissertation Year Travel Grant: Amanda Snyder (Florida International University).
Walter Love Prize: Jordanna Bailkin (University of Washington), "The Postcolonial Family? West African Children, Private Fostering, and the British State," Journal of Modern History 81 (2009).
John Ben Snow Prize: Ted McCormick (Concordia University), William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Albion Prize: Ritu Birla (University of Toronto), Stages of Capital: Law, Culture and Market Governance in Late Colonial India (Duke University Press, 2009).
Undergraduate Essay Contest for U.S. Colleges and Universities
- Bolton, Cherish (California State University, Northridge), "The Curious Case of the 'Lennie' and the 'Caswell:' Mutiny, Xenophobia, and What a Briton is Not," nomina-ted by Prof. Jeffrey Auerbach, Department of History.
- Buckwalter, James (Eastern Illinois University), "'A Master's Care and Dilligence Should Never be Over:' The British Government and Slave Shipboard Insurrections," nominated by Prof. Newton Key, Department of History.
- Forster, Richard (University of Hawai'i at Manoa), "Mangal Pandey: Drug-crazed Fanatic or Canny Revolutionary?" nominated by Prof. Peter H. Hoffenberg, Department of History.
- Pentz, Stephanie (John Carroll University), "Thinking Things and Visions In-carnate: Blake on Cartesian Dualism in 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'," nominated by Prof. John McBratney, Department of English
- Roush, Chester (Loyola University of Chicago), "A Comparison of the Holy in Emily Bronte and Gerard Manley Hopkins," nominated by Prof. Micael M. Clarke, Department of English.
NACBS-Huntington Library Fellowship, 2009-10
The selection committee for the NACBS-Huntington Library Fellowship received a set of strong proposals from promising doctoral candidates in 2009-10. We nevertheless readily agreed upon the stand-out quality of Lindsay Moore’s proposal about “Women, Power, and Litigation in the English Atlantic World, 1630-1700”. An examination of the extent and nature of women’s litigation in both English and selected colonial courts, Moore’s work addresses multiple historical literatures. She challenges received interpretations about weaknesses in the standing of married women in English courts. She also questions generalizations about the supposed greater legal and personal independence that women experienced in the colonies, with particular attention to the Chesapeake and New England. Moore draws upon the litigation of women from a variety of social groups, and she is interested in the concerns of women at quite different stages in their life cycles. In revising accepted assumptions about women and litigation in England and the colonies, Lindsay Moore will make a signal contribution to comparative studies of women’s roles, patriarchy, and hierarchy in the early modern Atlantic World. Her graceful proposal demonstrates both her familiarity with particular Huntington collections and her careful development of research strategies for exploring those materials. Finally, her paleographical training and skills will enable her to make efficient and compelling use of the manuscripts she has chosen to consult.
Dissertation Year Fellowship
The NACBS Dissertation Year Fellowship has been awarded to John Collins of the University of Virginia, working under the direction of Paul Halliday on the project “Martial Law in England and Empire, 1550-1700.” John Collins aims to explore the importance of martial law in seventeenth-century constitutional debates as well as its operation in local society, connecting the world of high politics to the lived experiences of people at the parish level. He also intends to trace how martial law interacted with imperial concerns by examining its use in Ireland, Virginia, the Caribbean, and the Indian subcontinent, among other places. His year of funded research will take him to the British Library to read legal tracts dealing with the relationship between martial law and other forms of law, as well as to numerous record offices to gather material from papers and commissions detailing the work of the provost marshals charged with applying martial law. The members of the prize committee were impressed by the bold sweep of his project and its potential to shed new light on important issues of law and politics.
NACBS Travel Award
The NACBS Travel Award has been given to Amanda Snyder of Florida International University for her project “Pirates, Exiles, and Empire: English Seamen and the Formation of an English Atlantic, 1569-1670,” written under the direction of Noble David Cook and Lara Kriegel. Amanda’s work will reevaluate the role of piracy legislation in the formation of exile communities in the Caribbean and the shifting attitudes and treatment of those communities by English rulers. She will show that piracy and responses to it were intimately linked to state formation, colonial expansion, and the creation of England’s new identity as an Atlantic power. Her research will take her to the National Archives in Kew and the Plymouth and West Devon Records Office among other places. Her proposal found favor for its creative reconceptualization of English foreign policy and its sensitivity to the implications of that policy for the early history of the Caribbean.
Working with recently declassified documents she demonstrates well that metropolitan policies were saturated with discussions of decolonization and that the Children’s Department files, while not obviously providing records of decolonization are a rich resource.
The committee was particularly impressed with her deft meshing of different registers of research, combining foreign policy and diplomatic documents, sociological studies, and the history of childhood with the reconfiguration of women’s work and the emergence of the African bourgeois family. Selecting material from child care case files of transracial fostering and adoption allows her to trace the fostering debates and attitudes toward African foster children in Britain. Using the Children’s Department files, she shows convincingly that the history of decolonization is not confined simply to diplomatic and Foreign Office policy but reaches deeply into the history and practices of the metropole.
Jon Ben Snow Prize
Ted McCormick’s William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic is a veritable tour de force, challenging conventional notions not only about the interrelation between intellectuals, “pure” natural philosophers, and technocrats at the height of the “Scientific Revolution” in Britain, but also the ways in which those groups sought professional recognition, patronage, and influence. McCormick delved into private archives and underutilized manuscript collections to bring to life one of the most interesting—and underappreciated—figures of the age, positioning William Petty within a broad and diverse intellectual circle, ranging from Hobbes, Jesuits, and French Cartesians, to the Baconian Hartlibians and the Royal Society, as well as exposing Petty as physician, technocrat, inventor, and freethinker in a way that suggests he was a polymath whose range of interests defined the age.
Interrogating the roots of modern Indian capitalism, Stages of Capital enters the colonial archive from a previously under utilized portal, the rich fiscal and commercial legislation unleashed between 1870-1930 to reconstitute Indian society as a modern market, a normative arena of impersonal, contract-based exchange, unimpeded by antiquated customs and restrictive social ties. The book centers on the delicate negotiations between the colonial ambition to forge new economic subjectivity and vernacular capitalism, which had operated through fluid networks of kinship and affinity, specifically the case of the Marwari commercial clans of northern and eastern India. One of Ritu Birla’s chief achievements is the unlocking of the shrewd logic of colonial market governance, especially its casting of culture as the localized other of the market’s universal rationality. In the name of cultural preservation, the Indian family firm was to be ambiguously tolerated as an exception to modernity, its inner working privatized and subjected to personal law regulation. In the name of the public good and economic progress, however, indigenous mercantile practices were delegitimized, trimmed, or even abolished, as, for example, the Marwari custom of gambling on future rainfalls. The Marwaris contested but ultimately internalized and even manipulated the boundaries of the public/private distinction, now staged as the decoupling of ‘culture’ and ‘economy.’ They managed to assert their control over their familial spaces as well as to gain public respectability as philanthropists, and, ultimately, leaders of the new national economy, upholding their status as both guardians of ancient culture and fully modern capitalist actors.
Imaginatively empirical and theoretically rich, Stages of Capital provides a much needed bridge between the history of the economy and post/colonial studies, as it successfully marshals diverse critical strategies from feminist theory to the study of law and society. This remarkable book excels in delineating the Indian iteration of the historical encounter between local commercial practices and systems of valuation and the universalizing ideology of capital. Facing the current global crisis and the neo-liberal denial of history as well as its own forms of governance, Birla’s is a timely and poignant intervention in the new history of world capitalism.
Undergraduate Essay Contest for U.S. Colleges and Universities
Bolton, Cherish (California State University, Northridge), "The Curious Case of the 'Lennie' and the 'Caswell:' Mutiny, Xenophobia, and What a Briton is Not," nomina-ted by Prof. Jeffrey Auerbach, Department of History.
Buckwalter, James (Eastern Illinois University), "'A Master's Care and Dilligence Should Never be Over:' The British Government and Slave Shipboard Insurrections," nominated by Prof. Newton Key, Department of History.
Forster, Richard (University of Hawai'i at Manoa), "Mangal Pandey: Drug-crazed Fanatic or Canny Revolutionary?" nominated by Prof. Peter H. Hoffenberg, Department of History.
Pentz, Stephanie (John Carroll University), "Thinking Things and Visions In-carnate: Blake on Cartesian Dualism in 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'," nominated by Prof. John McBratney, Department of English
Roush, Chester (Loyola University of Chicago), "A Comparison of the Holy in Emily Bronte and Gerard Manley Hopkins," nominated by Prof. Micael M. Clarke, Department of English.