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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 JUDITH R. WALKOWITZ ARTICLE PRIZE, 2018 

A leading scholar of British social and cultural history, particularly in relation to issues of gender and sexuality, Professor Judith R. Walkowitz has played a significant role in shaping the field of British Studies and the community of scholars who participate in the endeavor. The Judith R. Walkowitz Article Prize is awarded annually for the best published article on issues relating to gender and sexuality in British culture. The prize is open to scholars resident in North America working in any time period and in any discipline in British Studies, and carries a cash award of $150. The inaugural 2018 prize will be awarded to an article published during the calendar year 2017, and announced at the 2018 annual meeting. Note: Articles considered for the Walkowitz Prize may also be eligible for the Love Prize, but the selection committees will operate entirely separately. 

All scholars who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada and living in either country at the time of the award are eligible to compete. An electronic copy (sent as a PDF) of the nominated article or paper should be sent via e-mail by 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2018 to each member of the Prize Committee. The article file should be named as follows: (NOMINEE NAME_Walkowitz Article). Contact details for each committee member, including e-mail addresses, appear below: 

Brian Lewis (chair)
Department of History & Classical Studies
McGill University
Leacock, Rm 613
855 Sherbrooke West
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2T7
514-398-4400 ext.00684
[email protected]
 
Susan Amussen
Department of History
School of Social Sciences, Humanities, & Arts
University of California-Merced
5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
(209) 228-4590
[email protected]
 
Chris Waters
Department of History
Williams College
Hollander Hall
85 Mission Park Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267
413-597-2524
cwaters​@williams​.edu

RECENT AWARD WINNERS

Elizabeth Prevost (Grinnell College), “On Feminists, Functionalists, and Friends: Lobola and the Gender Politics of Imperial Trusteeship in Interwar Britain,” The Journal of Modern History 89 (September 2017), 562-600.

On a simple level this is a tale of the conflict between two opposing views of the customary African practice of lobola, or bridewealth—the presentation of cattle or other goods, services, and/or currency by a husband’s family to his wife’s family around the time of marriage to seal the legal and social bond between them. On one side of the conflict was a coalition of women’s advocates, reformers, and missionaries, all pursuing a new abolitionist campaign—a new strain of“imperial feminism”—that called for the emancipation of African sisters in their domestic sphere. On the other side of the divide was a new generation of structural-functionalist anthropologists and their various supporters—especially in the ranks of colonial government officials—who defended lobola as necessary for maintaining the cohesion and the essential integrity of traditional African societies. Prevost dissects these competing positions with superb skill, leaving no stone unturned and no archive unvisited in reconstructing the complexities of this tale of imperial trusteeship and the politics of gender. It is a breathtaking tour-de-force of historical reconstruction with far-reaching implications for how we think about imperial governance at the moment when imperial rule was slowly giving way to a new international order.

 

Honorable Mention: Sasha Turner (Quinnipiac University), “The Nameless and the Forgotten: Maternal Grief, Sacred Protection, and the Archive of Slavery,” Slavery and Abolition 38 (April 2017), 232-250.

In this highly suggestive and imaginative article, Turner explores grief and grieving patterns and links them to practices of female resistance and resilience in slave society, especially in nineteenth-century Jamaica. Too often narratives of motherhood amongst enslaved women are frozen in a heroic pose, she argues, and we need to challenge this by examining how being enslaved shaped the experience, expression, and suppression of emotions. We need to focus on those remaining fragments of enslaved women’s lives that can tell a story of maternal fear, apprehension, and grief, and the ways in which mothers experienced the tensions between individual anguish and those cultural conventions that celebrated the liberating power of death of the slave mother’s child. But, more than this, the article is also an affirmation of loss—maternal loss, archival loss, and historical loss—dissecting the reasons why the story she wants to tell cannot be told at all. Turner cleverly explores the limits imposed by archival invisibility and the polarizing historical frame that has established enslaved women as either resistant heroes or dedicated mothers. As such this is an insightful contribution to methodological and epistemological debate on what can and can’t be known and, indeed, about the politics of knowability more generally. 

PREVIOUS AWARD WINNERS