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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 2020 competition covers books published in 2019. Separate copies of the letter of nomination and of the book nominated should be sent to each member of the Prize Committee, postmarked by May 1, 2020 . (Only books sent to every committee member can be considered.) E-BOOKS ARE ALSO ENCOURAGED THIS YEAR, DUE TO THE CONTINGENCIES OF MAIL DELIVERY.

Committee members may be using alternate addresses while university campuses are responding to the Covid-19 outbreak. Presses and authors should contact each committee member by email to arrange for delivery of either hard copy or e-book submissions.

Chair: Stephen M. Miller
Department of History
University of Maine
[email protected] 
Nadja Durbach
Department of History
University of Utah
[email protected]
Ellen Boucher
Department of History
Amherst College
[email protected]



George Behlmer, Risky Shores: Savagery and Colonialism in the Western Pacific (Stanford University Press, 2018).

Behlmer’s study of British encounters with Melanesia—whether experienced, fabricated, or the product of widespread cultural fantasy--interrogates the place of “the savage” in the British colonial imagination. Risky Shores argues that the so-called “Cannibal Isles” of the Western Pacific that lay at the far edges of empire were sites of mutual misunderstanding. They were thus ripe for the production of a range of discourses that pitted a presumed inherent indigenous savagery against a white European civilization that was in fact far from orderly and stable. Highly engaging, Behlmer’s book uses a wide variety of source material and follows a range of historical agents as they negotiated what it meant to be British, a British colonial subject, and/or an Islander, from Captain Cook’s death on a Hawaiian beach in 1779 to the aftermath of the Second World War.

Penelope Ismay, Trust Among Strangers: Friendly Societies in Modern Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Ismay’s study of friendly societies explores Britain's transition to industrial modernity by problematizing the concept of mutuality. She demonstrates how friendly societies evolved practices of sociability and reciprocity in order to cultivate belonging among working-class people who were, and would remain, unknown to each other. Deeply researched and engagingly written, Ismay explores the problem of trust in a modernizing society from the "ground up," challenging the idea of the independent, economically rational Liberal subject. Ismay’s book provides a rich understanding of theories of responsibility to others and the nature of mutual self-help as it was practiced in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, arguing for friendly societies’ lasting impact on collectivist approaches to welfare well into the twentieth century.