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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.


The Stansky Book Prize of $500 is awarded annually by the North American Conference on British Studies for the best book published anywhere by a North American scholar on any aspect of British studies since 1800. The author must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada and be living in either country at the time of the award.  Nominations may be made by the author or by the publisher of the book.  A publisher may nominate more than one title each year but should use discretion and not overburden the Prize Committee.

The 2018 competition covers books published in 2017.  Separate copies of the letter of nomination and of the book nominated should be sent by April 1, 2018 to each member of the Prize Committee (only books sent to every committee member can be considered).  For prompt attention, mark packages "NACBS Prize Committee." Send all relevant materials to:

Chair: Priya Satia
Department of History
Stanford University
Lane History Corner, room 113
450 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
Ellen Boucher
Department of History
Chapin Hall
Amherst College
220 South Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Nadja Durbach
Department of History
University of Utah


Stansky Prize 2017 (Co-Winners)—Laura Beers (American University and University of Birmingham), Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist (Harvard University Press 2016)

Laura Beers has written the biography that “Red” Ellen Wilkinson deserves. Fine biographies are portraits of their subjects’ social and physical world. Beers has produced one that is not only gracefully written and thoroughly researched, but also very wide in its political and geographical scope. Many readers will know Wilkinson as a participant in the Jarrow hunger march of 1936, and as the first woman Labour Member of Parliament. This biography gives equal time, however, to Wilkinson’s involvement in her feminist, anti-imperialist, and anti-Fascist activism. In choosing Wilkinson as her subject, Laura Beers faced a biographer’s dilemma: her subject’s private papers had been burned after her death. Red Ellen was, however, a prolific and frank writer and speaker, and one who was often in the news. Beers brings her to life through her comprehensive and imaginative use of a remarkable range of sources which include Wilkinson’s revealing autobiographical novel Clash and an earlier biographer’s archived interviews with Ellen’s friends. The range of Wilkinson’s political activities and the acronyms and policy disputes that they generated have the potential to puzzle readers. Beers’s full grasp and graceful way of summarizing the issues Wilkinson encountered, however, has led to a compelling narrative that is always clear and engaging. Red Ellen is sure to be a standard work in twentieth-century British history.

Mark Doyle (Middle Tennessee State University), Communal Violence in the British Empire: Disturbing the Pax (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).

Mark Doyle's study of imperial violence admirably shows that the struggles so easily dismissed as timeless "sectarian" or "communal" in many postcolonial societies today in fact are rooted in the history of the British empire. He demonstrates how important that form of violence was in both justifying the imperial project and revealing the limits of British power. With stories culled from around the empire, Doyle depicts colonial authorities interpreting, policing, and at times actually fostering violence between different ethnic and religious communities. He manages the vast scale of the project effectively with a series of vividly narrated case studies ranging from British Guiana to Belfast to India. The case-study format allows him to prove a general argument about the empire's role in communal violence. He not only tells the stories but also shows vividly how and why they unfolded as they did. Communal Violence in the British Empire is an ambitious study of the very core dynamics of British imperialism with a clearly argued thesis based on careful and compelling use of evidence from archives around the world. It is an important contribution to the study of colonial violence, showing its centrality to the history of Britain as well as its colonies. Importantly, it helps to further puncture the myth of the Pax Britannica.