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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.


North American Conference on British Studies M.A. Essay Prize Contest


The NACBS awards a prize of $500 annually for the best piece of original research produced by a student in a “stand-alone” M.A. program at a university or college in the U.S. or Canada.

Essays may be from any department—History, English, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, etc.—but must relate to a topic in British Studies. Essays nominated for this prize may deal with subjects related to the British Isles or with some aspect of the British Imperial/Post-Colonial experience, broadly construed. Entries must not exceed fifty pages in length, inclusive of notes and/or illustrations.

The following conditions apply:

  • Nominees must be students (or recent graduates) of a “stand-alone” M.A. program. “Stand alone” refers here to an M.A. degree earned at an institution that offers a master’s degree that is separate from a Ph.D. program and not simply a degree earned, as a matter of course, along the way to ABD status. This means that potential nominees might come from either a program with just an M.A. or programs where the M.A. and Ph.D. are awarded as separate degrees and candidates are admitted through separate application processes.
  • Nominees may be currently enrolled in an M.A. program, recent graduates of an M.A. program (within one year of degree completion), or Ph.D. students (again within one year of having completed a degree in a terminal, “stand-alone” M.A. program).
  • Submitted papers should be no more than 50 pages in length (inclusive of notes and/or illustrations). A longer (more than 50-page) M.A. thesis may be edited down to fit the word limit. Alternatively, stand-along chapters from a longer thesis will also be considered.
  • The prize will be decided by a committee of three faculty members from institutions with “stand-alone” M.A. programs. Whenever possible, there will be broad disciplinary representation on this committee.

Procedures for Nomination:

Nominating faculty must be current members of the NACBS. Submissions must be accompanied by a nominating letter from the professor, who should have taught the course for which the essay was written or supervised M.A. thesis work. Submissions should include the permanent mailing address and email contact information for the student nominated.

An electronic copy of the essay and the letter of nomination (sent as two separate documents—either WORD or PDF) should be sent to EACH of the following three members of the prize committee by 11:59 p.m. on September 15, 2020, via e-mail. The essay file should be named (NOMINEE’S NAME_Essay). The letter of nomination file should be named (NOMINEE’S NAME_Letter). Contact details, including e-mail addresses, for each committee member appear below:

Chair: Jennifer McNabb
Head of History
University of Northern Iowa
1227 W 27th Street
319 Seerley Hall
Cedar Falls, IA 50614
j[email protected] 
Peter Larson
Department of History
University of Central Florida
12796 Aquarius Agora Dr.
Orlando, FL 32816-1350
[email protected]
Jeff Schauer
Department of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Box 455020
4505 S. Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89154-5020
[email protected]


Melissa Glass (Dalhousie University), “‘The Rust of Antiquity'? Print Culture, Custom, and the Manorial Court Guidebooks of Early Modern England.”

Glass’s thesis examines a topic rarely addressed, the operation of manorial courts in the early modern period. She does so by using guidebooks to holding court, instead of the records of the courts themselves (which rarely survive past the fifteenth century). Her focus on the genre of writing/publication that had considerable significance for English people's experiences of law and authority offers persuasive assessments of the correlative relationship between the significance of this layer of law and the varying strength of the crown. Glass’s thesis expands our knowledge of customary law and connects it to growing early modern debates on law and society.