Skip to content


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 2017 competition covers books published in 2016.  Separate copies of the letter of nomination and of the book nominated should be sent by April 1, 2017 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: Professor Ellen Ross (Ramapo College of New Jersey)
890 West End Ave.
Apt. 15D
New York, NY 10025  USA
Professor James Epstein
Department of History
Vanderbilt University
2301 Vanderbilt Place
PMB 351802
Nashville, TN 37237  USA
Professor Priya Satia
Department of History MC 2024
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2024  USA


Stansky Prize 2016—Awarded to Thomas Laqueur (University of California, Berkeley) for The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (Princeton University Press, 2015)

In The Work of the Dead, Thomas Laqueur asks readers to consider why societies have never followed the enigmatic advice of the ancient cynic Diogenes and thrown their mortal remains over the city walls for beasts to devour?  As Laqueur argues, “the living need the dead”; even as the world turned secular, death has remained enchanted.  From this starting point follows an historical and philosophical tour de force, postulating a universal human need and charting its manifestations over a large expanse of time and space.  Britain provides the book’s core case study, but Laqueur’s study is confined by neither national nor chronological boundaries. Drawing on sources in four languages, his book crosses the fields of history, anthropology, medicine, psychology, and literature.  Evidence is drawn from mortuary archeology, medical tracts, letters, songs, poems, novels, illustrations, and paintings.  His detailed consideration of the care of the dead during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries registers the shift from the ancient custom of burial in the parish churchyard to interment in modern cemeteries open to the paying public.  Similarly, Laqueur moves from the deep history of the need to name the dead to modern history’s vast project of writing the dead in memorial lists, on monuments, and on graves; a process whose full flowering arose from the conjunction of the interests of the state, civil society, and the individual psyche.  Its innovative range, erudition, and compassion combine to make The Work of the Dead an outstanding scholarly achievement.