Welcome to the Royal Historical Society’s Awards, 2022
In this post you’ll find details of all of the Winners and Runners-up for the Society’s 2022 Awards for research, publishing and teaching. There are seven prizes awarded by the Society and a further two awards from our close associate, the Institute of Historical Research. The latter include the 2022-23 PhD Fellows who hold their fellowships jointly with the Society and the IHR.
Below you find details of the following awards:
- Alexander Prize, for an article written within 2 years of completing a PhD
- David Berry Prize, for an article by an early career historian in the field of Scottish History
- Gladstone Prize, for a first monograph in the field of European or World History
- Whitfield Prize, for a first monograph in the field of British and Irish History
- Rees Davies Prize, for an MA Dissertation in History, submitted in 2021
- RHS Innovation in Teaching Prize, for original classroom work
- Jinty Nelson Prize, for Inspirational Teaching and Supervision
- IHR Pollard Prize, for a paper given at an Institute seminar, 2021-22
- RHS Centenary and Marshall Fellowships for PhD students, held in conjunction with the Institute of Historical Research
We will also hear briefly from the winners of this year’s Gladstone and Whitfield Prizes, and also from Professor Claire Langhamer Director of the IHR. We begin with an introduction to the awards from Professor Emma Griffin, President of the Royal Historical Society.
Dr Tamara Fernando, ‘“Seeing Like the Sea”: A Multispecies History of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery 1800-1925’ (Past & Present, February 2021)
“This evocative article opens by observing that ‘the story of pearl-bearing oysters is deeply embedded in and entangled with histories of globalization and empire as well as with their darker corollaries of slavery, imperialism, and colonial violence.’ The author ‘submerges Indian Ocean studies underwater’ to show that molluscs have not only shaped history, but humanity has also shaped molluscs. This dive weaves scientific literature, colonial records, Tamil written and oral sources, and contemporary anthropology, with neglected labour archives.
Every aspect of the nineteenth-century pearl fishery in and around these waters reflected local and colonial approaches to the mysteries of this prized yet elusive animal; its harvests shaped natural environments above, within, and below the sea.
By separating oysters from their roles as ‘bioengineers’ of oceanic ecosystems, colonial commerce and its scientific rationales met organic resistance, enabling the author to reflect on the historical significance of these non-human agents. This is an innovative, subtle, and engaging article that brings together Tamil voices, colonial archives, environmental history, and postcolonial methodology with panache.”
Alexander Prize panel, 2022
Dr Anna McKay, ‘“Allowed to Die?” Prison Hulks, Convict Corpses and the Enquiry of 1847′ (Cultural & Social History, May 2021)
“This is a well-written, compelling and historically rigorous examination of how convicts’ corpses were used and abused by the prison system and anatomy schools in mid-nineteenth-century England.
Based on a meticulous analysis of the 1847 Inquiry into General Treatment and Condition of Convicts in Hulks at Woolwich and drawing on other contemporary primary sources, it combines medical history with the history of prisons and criminal punishment, and demonstrates a wide-ranging, in-depth knowledge of relevant historiography. Challenging, shocking and deeply moving, it offers an original and penetrating insight into how marginalised individuals were regarded in both life and death.”
Alexander Prize panel, 2022
Dr Emily Bridger, Young Women Against Apartheid. Gender, Youth and South Africa’s Liberation Struggle (Boydell & Brewer, 2021)
“This is a superb intervention in the history of modern South Africa. The main focus is the struggle against Apartheid in the 1980s and early 1990s. Emily Bridger’s goal is to fill a gap by uncovering the often-overlooked participation of young women in that struggle and analysing the role played by gender in shaping their activities.
Her account is notable for the way it avoids sealing activism off as a discrete area of behaviour, or framing it as a question of institutional history, and instead shows how political protest was embedded in the complex and varied fabric of the protagonists’ lives. This is achieved by the means of the book’s organization around a series of spheres or arenas: the school, the home, the meeting, the street, and the prison cell.
Emily Bridger’s structuring of the evidence around these spaces creates a rich narrative in which the life experiences of the participants are able to take centre stage. The author’s careful reflections on the possibilities and limits of her own methodology are another strength of the book. The panel would like to congratulate Emily on her work, which is original, analytically sophisticated and a pleasure to read.”
Gladstone Prize panel, 2022
Dr Kristin D. Hussey, Imperial Bodies in London Empire, Mobility, and the Making of British Medicine, 1880–1914 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021)
“Imperial Bodies in London brings together postcolonial scholarship with the history of medicine to impressive effect. It gives a vivid account of London as an imperial city, in which colonial encounters were present within the very bodies of its residents.
Kristin Hussey focuses on specific organs of the body to show how anxieties over travel, climate, parasites, and infections shaped metropolitan medical practice. As well as a superb intellectual achievement, the book is also written with creativity and imagination, bringing to life the physicality of its sources, and conveying the entanglement of imperial human bodies with an array of non-human entities and forces.”
Whitfield Prize panel, 2022