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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 (2008)

John Ben Snow Prize
Deborah Harkness (USC), The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press).

In The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution, Deborah Harkness restores to view science before and beyond Bacon, a vernacular science produced less by individual genius than by community labor. Working at the intersection of print and manuscript sources, she finds members of Londons community of scientists in literal neighborhoods, talking in alleys and print shops, working in small City gardens and even smaller prison cells, sketching plants and ingenious mechanisms. Mutual jealousies and mutual support motivated people and their work in equal measure. London was the jewel house, but its scientist-citizens collected and generated new ways of knowing the natural world in part by the personal and professional connections they maintained beyond London. In Harknesss hands, London thus becomes a participant in a broader European transformation in understandings of mathematics, natural history, and medicine. Producing six studies of different aspects of the life of Londons scientific community, Harkness shows us hundreds of obscure people at work: tinkering, thinking, and talking; printing books and jotting marginal notes. This is a marvelous book, reminding readers how fine-grained research, enlivened by evocative prose, can provide a new appreciation of how ideas were made and moved about in a world so removed from our own.

Albion Prize
Sharon Marcus (Columbia), Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England (Princeton University Press).

In Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England, Sharon Marcus challenges the view that Victorian women were simply defined by fathers, brothers, and husbands and confined within a dominant heterosexuality. Combining a literary scholar,s sensitivity to texts with an historian's empirical research, Marcus demonstrates the richness and complexity of women’s emotional relationships and the centrality of women's friendships to Victorian society and to middle-class, heterosexual marriage. At the same time, Marcus shows how Victorian consumer culture helped both to eroticize and to objectify female relationships by making femininity an object of desire in fashion magazines and other sites. And how a number of same sex couples, acknowledged at the time, modeled their relationships on heterosexual marriage and helped to provide a model for heterosexual marriage reform. Thus, Marcus shows that there was a broad spectrum of emotional and sexual relationships available to women, not just a simple dichotomy between heterosexuality and homosexuality, and that this complexity was more recognized and accepted at the time than historians have generally appreciated. Between Women reshapes our understanding of gender, sexuality and family in the Victorian period. Superbly written, this book will be important not only to scholars of the nineteenth century, but it will also raise challenging new questions in the histories of sexuality, gender and culture.

Albion Prize Honorable Mention
Lara Kriegel, (Florida International), Grand Designs: Labor, Empire, and the Museum in Victorian Culture (Duke University Press).

Laura Kriegel’s Grand Designs: Industrial Culture, Imperial Display, and the Victoria and Albert Museum is an immensely readable and beautifully illustrated book that examines the production of industrial design and the cultivation of consumer taste in Victorian imperial culture. At first glance, Grand Designs appears to be a case study of an important museum’s “prehistory,” which in itself would make this book a significant contribution to our understanding of the Victorian culture of collecting, the period’s well known “exhibitionary complex.” Closer reading of Grand Designs, however, reveals a supremely successful execution of the much more ambitious agenda of locating the Victorian movement for industrial design reform in the historical processes through which “the social” and “the cultural” were severed in a distinctively modern consciousness. Her narrative is in this respect a methodological tour de force, deploying that remarriage of social and cultural history for which historians have very recently begun to call by historicizing their divorce. In other words, Kriegel frames our discipline’s recent “cultural turn” as the contingent outcome of the historical process she is narrating. By historicizing the archival visibility of economic concerns and social interest groups, on the one hand, and of political forces (democratization and imperial expansion) and cultural practices on the other, Kriegel demonstrates the disciplinary contribution historical analysis can make to theoretical debates.

Walter Love Prize
Owen Stanwood (Catholic University), “The Protestant Moment: Antipopery, the Revolution of 1688-89, and the Making of an Anglo-American Empire,” Journal of British Studies, 46.

Owen Stanwood’s article, “The Protestant Moment: Antipopery, the Revolution of 1688-1689, and the Making of the Anglo-American Empire,” published in the Journal of British Studies rethinks the significance of the Glorious Revolution, arguing that it brought about an imperial transformation from an unorganized collection of trading posts to a shared identity as subjects of the same monarch united by common religious, economic, and political beliefs. Not content to address only Britain and its colonies, Stanwood shows a breadth of analysis that places England and the colonies in a global context and that illustrates how colonists saw themselves as partners in an international Protestant brotherhood, fighting against a resurgent Catholic France and its allies among Native Americans. In so doing he breaks free of the nation-state as a principle of historical analysis in studying domestic, imperial, and Atlantic community interests.

Walter Love Prize Honorable Mention
Sandra Dawson (UCSB), "Working-Class Consumers and the Campaign for Holidays with Pay," 20th Century British History.

The committee also gives an honorable mention to Sandra Dawson’s article, “Working-Class Consumers and the Campaign for Holidays with Pay,” published in Twentieth-Century British History. In particular the committee would emphasize the innovative topic, use of sources, and the careful analysis that connects the actions of Parliament to the lives of ordinary men and women and vice-versa. This issue included the plight of the housewife whose unwaged labor rarely received recognition. In turn paid holidays created a market for leisure consumption in working-class families that had not existed previously.

NACBS Dissertation Year Fellowship
Amy Tims (Rutgers), “This Ogly Witch and Nasty Bitch: Gender and the Quest for Legitimacy in England, 1640-1660”.

Tims’ dissertation argues that gender and sex were central to political discourse during the English Civil War and the Interregnum.  By analyzing the ways in which gendered imagery both visual and textual was used to legitimize or delegitimize the claims of the Stuart family, the Rump Parliament, and Oliver Cromwell, Tims’ dissertation will explore the nature of political authority at a particularly fraught moment in English history.  Linking political history, gender history, and the history of print culture together this dissertation examines questions about the dissemination, circulation and reception of ideas about sovereign power by focusing on the role of the body and gendered performances in articulations of political authority.

NACBS Travel Award
Arthur Mitchell Fraas (Duke), “English Law, Asian Subjects, and the Development of a British Colonial State in India, 1664-1773”.

Fraas’ dissertation uses the East India Company’s criminal and civil courts as a lens to trace the currents of legal change that circulated through Britain and its empire from the middle of the 17thc through the 18thc.  Fraas argues that the legal regimes of the East India Company, England, and the wider colonial world shaped, and in turn were shaped by, interactions amongst a diverse group of British, South Asian, Portuguese, and mixed-race subjects.  Tracing the flow of legal knowledge between the British Isles and the subcontinent, Fraas’ dissertation argues for the centrality of the East India Company’s law courts to the making of the British colonial state long before the 1773 Regulating Act instated a Governor General answerable to the crown.

NACBS Huntington Library Fellowship
Noah Millstone (Stanford), “‘Plot’s Commonwealth’: Manuscript Separates and the Culture of Political Opposition in Early Stuart England”.

The NACBS-Huntington Library Fellowship committee, composed of Muriel McClendon (UCLA), Linda Pollock (Tulane) and Colleen Seguin (Valparaiso), has awarded this years fellowship to Noah Millstone, of Stanford University, for his project, Plots Commonwealth: Manuscript Separates and the Culture of Political Opposition in Early Stuart England.
Millstone will examine the role that manuscript separates played in the culture of opposition in the decades before the outbreak of the English Civil War.  Professional scribes produced separates and the manuscripts circulated widely throughout England. Millstone finds that scholars investigating popular political awareness have largely overlooked these sources in favor of printed works.  This neglect, Millstone argues, has left us with only a limited understanding of the extent and nature of political opposition in the early Stuart era. His project will draw on an extensive selection of both manuscript and printed works that are housed in the Huntington Librarys collections.
The committee found Millstones project deftly written and analytically sophisticated.  It stands to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the political culture of the early Stuart period, a subject that continues to fascinate scholars. 

Undergraduate Essay Contest for U.S. Colleges and Universities
Croasdaile, Patrick Holman (Lewis & Clark College), "Foundational Principles: The Development of Post-Jacobite Separatism in Nineteenth-Century Scotland"

Gillmeister, Alison (Yale University), "The Incorporation of Travel Accounts into Political and Religious Arguments: Late Seventeenth Century England"

Gubbins, John (Northern Michigan University), "Dame Juliana Berners: The Case of the Missing Sportswoman"

Su, Christine (Stanford University), "A Work of Its Time? Historical Influences on T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land."

Canadian Undergraduate Essay Prize
The North American Conference on British Studies is pleased to announce the winners of the 2007/08 Canadian Undergraduate Essay Contest in British Studies, sponsored by the North American Conference on British Studies.

This year's committee and judges—Professor Krista Kesselring, Department of History, Dalhousie University; Professor Jennifer Gustar, English and Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan; and Professor Dan Gorman, History, University of Waterloo-- congratulate the winners of the Canadian Undergraduate Essay Contest in British Studies, who are listed alphabetically with the essay title and name of the faculty nominator.

1. Adam Gaya, "Neither So Silent Nor So Sober: The Complicated Relationship Between The Society of Friends and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament." History, McGill University, for Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne.

2. Adam Fowler, "Bubbling Debate: Medical Theory and Early Modern Scurvy." History, University of Saskatchewan, for Dr. Lisa Smith.

3. Sierra Skye Gemma, "Recipes for Health: Magical, Religious, and Pharmacological Remedies for Female Ailments in Medieval England." History, UBC, for Dr. Arlene Sindelar.

4. Fifi Kobia, "’International Morality at Stake’: The Role of Morality in the British Response to the Italo-Ethopian Crisis of 1935." History, Carleton University, for Dr. Y.A. Bennett.

5. Mark Leeming, "Liberty and Human Improvement: Eugenics and British New Liberalism." History, St. Francis Xavier University, for Dr. Rhonda Semple.

6. Alan Lensink, "Obeah and the Process of Africa-Oriented Acculturation in the British West Indies from 1650 to 1800." History, University of New Brunswick, for Dr. Wendy Churchill.

7. Caroline Lieffers, "The Pilgrim’s Progress and the Nineteenth-Century British Subject." English, University of Alberta, for Dr. Sylvia Brown.

8. Monica Murphy, "A ‘Double Passion’: Decadent Conversion to Roman Catholicism." English, University of Victoria, for Dr. Lisa Surridge.

9. Padraic Scanlan, "’This happy Inequality’: Class, Religion and English Values in the Publications of the London Corresponding Society and the Association Movement, 1792-1797." History, McGill University, for Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne.

10. Heather Williams, "Subject or Citizen: Caribbean Communities in Britain." History, York University, for Dr. Jeanette Neason.


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