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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 (2015)

Prize List (see details below)

NACBS/Huntington Fellowship:  William Skidmore (Rice University) “Informed Activism: The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1840-1899” 

Dissertation Year Fellowship: Andrew Ruoss (Duke University) “Competitive Collaboration: Forging Global Corporate Political Economy, 1650–1730”

Dissertation Year Travel Grant: Emily D. Curtis Walters (Northwestern University) “Daddy, What Did You do in the Great War? Warfare Knowledge, and Generations in Britain, 1918–1945”; Louis Gerdelan (Harvard) “Calamities Sciences: A History of Disaster Knowledge in Britain, 1666–1755”

Walter Love Prize: Michelle Tusan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)“‘Crimes against Humanity’: Human Rights, the British Empire and the Origins of the Response to the Armenian Genocide,” American Historical Review 119.1 (February 2014): pp. 47-77. 

John Ben Snow Prize: Brent Sirota (North Carolina State University) The Christian Monitors: The Church of England and the Age of Benevolence, 1680-1730 (Yale University Press) 

Stansky Book Prize: Seth Koven (Rutgers University) The Match Girl and the Heiress (Princeton University Press)

Undergraduate Essay Contest for U.S. Colleges and Universities

Mackenzie Dancho, "Patriotism before Feminism: Images of Women in the British Media During the First World War." Carleton University: Nominated by Yvonne A. Bennett (Canada)

Hannah Dyckerhoff, “Immobilizing the Catholic Foe: A ‘Popery’ of Protestation in London 1780.” Grant MacEwan University: Nominated by Rob Falconer (Canada)

Colby Ellis, "William III and the Decision to Accept a Joint Constitutional Monarchy." Florida State University: Nominated by Charles Upchurch (USA)

Jeremy Gray, "Civil War Ciphers: John Wallis's Reputation as a Cryptographer." Boston University: Nominated by Michael Thornhill (USA)

Michelle (Shelly) Harder, “'As lauce leues of þe boke:' Cleanness and the Perils of Vernacular Reading." University of Western Ontario: Nominated by Richard J. Moll (Canada)

Sarah Letawsky, “Where Patriarchy, Gender, and Verdicts Collide: Servant Theft Against their Masters in England during the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries.” Grant MacEwan University:  Nominated by Rob Falconer (Canada)

Isabel McGrory-Klyza, “Cultivating the Lower Senses: Smell, Taste, and Touch on the Grand Tour.” Barnard College Columbia University: Nominated by Deborah Valenze (USA)

Adam Rymes, "Manipulated Voices: The Times Use of Soldier's Letters." Carleton University: Nominated by Yvonne A. Bennett (Canada)


John Ben Snow Prize

Awarded to Brent Sirota (North Carolina State University) for his book The Christian Monitors: The Church of England and the Age of Benevolence, 1680-1730 (Yale University Press) 

In this book, Sirota demonstrates how the Anglican Church sustained its own kind of revolutionary impetus after the Glorious Revolution by attempting to transform Britishness into a benevolent and associational national culture.   It offers a new and unique interpretation of this post-Revolutionary ‘age of benevolence’ by locating its origins not in political theology, but in political organization, and in particular noting the importance of voluntary and charitable societies in shaping this crucial moment of Anglican revival. Sirota ably shows that societies like the SPCK and SPG, along with many other Anglican projects at home and globally, were neither extensions of the state nor private organizations. The book also suggests a critical genealogy between the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and the later Victorian age of philanthropy, which in turn helps to connect the Revolutionary era to its successors while undermining any Whiggish narrative of how it got there.  Along the way, the book suggests a very different way of understanding both the Anglican church and the role of “religion" in shaping moral discourse, politics, society, and empire in the modern era.  It is a remarkable achievement of primary and secondary research and erudition that scholars of the period will have to engage with for some time to come. 

Walter D. Love Prize

Awarded to Michelle Tusan (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) for her article “‘Crimes against Humanity’: Human Rights, the British Empire and the Origins of the Response to the Armenian Genocide,” American Historical Review 119.1 (February 2014): pp. 47-77. 

In this wide-ranging and erudite essay, Michelle Tusan examines British efforts to intervene into the Armenian genocide, the first “crime against humanity” of the twentieth century.  Through a careful reconstruction of the events from 1915 to the aftermath of the First World War, Tusan notes that British politicians claimed the logic of human rights as grounds for foreign intervention, paradoxically, while they held an empire themselves.  Britain took a prominent role in Allied efforts to prosecute war crimes against minority Christians in Armenia, but these measures ultimately failed as Britain faced its own political difficulties in the aftermath of the massacres at Smyrna and Amritsar.  Soon after the war ended, a collective cultural amnesia about state-sponsored terror settled into British understandings of the genocide as films about the genocide were carefully released to the public to showcase the human tragedy but not assign responsibility to state actors.  This article is an important contribution to the political and diplomatic history of the First World War.

Stansky Prize

Awarded to Seth Koven (Rutgers University) for his book The Match Girl and the Heiress (Princeton University Press)

Koven’s book expertly narrates the story of an intimate cross-class East London friendship in the early decades of the twentieth century.  The match girl was Nellie Dowell, an impoverished and half-orphaned East Londoner who worked in match factories from the age of twelve.  The heiress was Muriel Lester, the daughter of a shipping magnate who, along with Dowell and other East Londoners, founded the settlement house Kingsley Hall in 1915.  In Koven’s deft hands, the intense relationship between these two figures, fascinating in itself, serves as a gateway to a range of wider issues of historical interpretation.  He opens up broad historical terrain, exploring the themes of social justice, Christianity, poverty, class, gender and sexuality, capitalist exploitation, war and empire.  He tells the intertwined life stories of Dowell and Lester with consummate skill and artful style.  Broadly and deeply researched, reflective and alive to historical and literary nuance, The Match Girl and the Heiress is a model of how to write a history that dissolves distinctions between the micro and the macro.  Koven has written a book of remarkable power and humane spirit.

NACBS Dissertation Fellowship

 Awarded to Andrew Ruoss (Duke University) for his dissertation “Competitive Collaboration: Forging Global Corporate Political Economy, 1650–1730”

Andrew Ruoss’s dissertation asks a fundamental question: how does our understanding of early modern political economy change when we refocus from an anachronistic, national frame of reference to the relationship among supra- and trans-national corporate communities. Comparing and examining the oscillations of competition and collaboration between two of the most powerful economic and political bodies in seventeenth-century Europe — the Dutch and English East India Companies — he suggests that one can imagine an ‘Anglo-Dutch political economy’ that transcends the sorts of national, religious, political and strategic rivalries that so often characterizes the ways in which this period has been traditionally understood.

 

NACBS Dissertation Travel Grants

The first travel grant is awarded to Emily D. Curtis Walters (Northwestern University) for her dissertation “Daddy, What Did You do in the Great War? Warfare Knowledge, and Generations in Britain, 1918–1945” 

Emily Curtis Walters’s dissertation examines how the generation of 1914 bequeathed its stories to the successor generations and investigates how successor generations would eventually understand the global cataclysm that was the First World War: it charges how the global war passed from lived experiences to stories and back to lived experiences again. What especially distinguishes her work is the extraordinarily wide range of sources that she has already uncovered, which allow her, among other things, to trace how audiences responded to plays and films about the war from the 1920s to the 1940s. Her dissertation is at once a work of cultural, intellectual, and political history. 

The second travel grant is awarded to Louis Gerdelan (Harvard) for his dissertation “Calamities Sciences: A History of Disaster Knowledge in Britain, 1666–1755”

Louis Gerdelan’s dissertation examines how a pre-industrial age developed sophisticated bodies of knowledge about disasters and shows how specialists lay claim to scientific expertise in dealing with the prevention or prediction, outbreak and remedy of such occurrences. This study of the epistemology of catastrophe is bookended by two of early modern Europe’s most famous disasters, the Great Fire of London and the Lisbon Earthquake and considers them in their broadest international contexts because, as he argues, “there are no disasters that are not international disasters”. His work, then, promises to contribute to the histories of science, religion, and politics. 

NACBS-Huntington Library Fellowship for 2015-2016

Awarded to William Skidmore (Rice University) for his dissertation “Informed Activism: The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1840-1899” 

William Skidmore’s dissertation is designed to reconstruct and explore transnational exchanges of information among abolitionists during the second half of the nineteenth century. The members of the selection committee, which considered multiple excellent applications, were persuaded both of the merits of this project and that the Huntington collections were crucial to its development and completion. In particular, Skidmore will make use of the papers of Thomas Clarkson, chief architect of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society and those of Zachary Macaulay, Edward Hawke Locker and Fanny Kemble, all of whom are prominent figures in his dissertation. This work promises to be both exciting and important.

Undergraduate Essay Prizes were awarded to the following recipients: 

  • Mackenzie Dancho, "Patriotism before Feminism: Images of Women in the British Media During the First World War." Carleton University: Nominated by Yvonne A. Bennett (Canada)
  • Hannah Dyckerhoff, “Immobilizing the Catholic Foe: A ‘Popery’ of Protestation in London 1780.” Grant MacEwan University: Nominated by Rob Falconer (Canada)
  • Colby Ellis, "William III and the Decision to Accept a Joint Constitutional Monarchy." Florida State University: Nominated by Charles Upchurch (USA)
  • Jeremy Gray, "Civil War Ciphers: John Wallis's Reputation as a Cryptographer." Boston University: Nominated by Michael Thornhill (USA)
  • Michelle (Shelly) Harder, “'As lauce leues of þe boke:' Cleanness and the Perils of Vernacular Reading." University of Western Ontario: Nominated by Richard J. Moll (Canada)
  • Sarah Letawsky, “Where Patriarchy, Gender, and Verdicts Collide: Servant Theft Against their Masters in England during the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries.” Grant MacEwan University:  Nominated by Rob Falconer (Canada)
  • Isabel McGrory-Klyza, “Cultivating the Lower Senses: Smell, Taste, and Touch on the Grand Tour.” Barnard College Columbia University: Nominated by Deborah Valenze (USA)
  • Adam Rymes, "Manipulated Voices: The Times Use of Soldier's Letters." Carleton University: Nominated by Yvonne A. Bennett (Canada)

 

PREVIOUS AWARD WINNERS

The winners of the prize and fellowship competitions are announced at the NACBS annual conference. Previous winners of recent competitions are available below: