Sep 22, 2023
2023 Stansky Prize Shortlist Announced
In order to recognize the range of outstanding scholarship currently being produced in British Studies, this year the NACBS book prize committees are announcing prize shortlists.
The committee has selected the following three books for the 2023 Stansky Book Prize shortlist for the best book in British Studies dealing with the period since 1800.
· Lara Kriegel, The Crimean War and its Afterlife: Making Modern Britain (Cambridge University Press)
· Simon Joyce, LGBT Victorians: Sexuality and Gender in the Nineteenth-century Archives (Oxford University Press)
· Paris Spies-Gans, A Revolution on Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France, 1760-1830 (Yale University Press)
Brief descriptions of the books and links to the publishers’ websites appear below. The winner of the Stansky Prize will be announced at the NACBS national conference in November. The Snow Prize shortlist will be sent in a separate message.
Lara Kriegel, The Crimean War and its Afterlife: Making Modern Britain (Cambridge University Press)
The mid-nineteenth century's Crimean War is frequently dismissed as an embarrassment, an event marred by blunders and an occasion better forgotten. In The Crimean War and its Afterlife Lara Kriegel sets out to rescue the Crimean War from the shadows. Kriegel offers a fresh account of the conflict and its afterlife: revisiting beloved figures like Florence Nightingale and hallowed events like the Charge of the Light Brigade, while also turning attention to newer worthies, including Mary Seacole. In this book a series of six case studies transport us from the mid-Victorian moment to the current day, focusing on the heroes, institutions, and values wrought out of the crucible of the war. Time and again, ordinary Britons looked to the war as a template for social formation and a lodestone for national belonging. With lucid prose and rich illustrations, this book vividly demonstrates the uncanny persistence of a Victorian war in the making of modern Britain.
Simon Joyce, LGBT Victorians: Sexuality and Gender in the Nineteenth-century Archives (Oxford University Press)
It has been decades since Michel Foucault urged us to rethink "the repressive hypothesis" and see new forms of sexual discourse as coming into being in the nineteenth century, yet the term "Victorian" still has largely negative connotations. LGBT Victorians argues for re-visiting the period's thinking about gender and sexual identity at a time when our queer alliances are fraying. LGBT Victorians draws on scholarship reconsidering the significance of sexology and efforts to retrospectively discover transgender people in historical archives, particularly in the gap between what the nineteenth century termed the sodomite and the hermaphrodite. It highlights a broad range of individuals (including Anne Lister, and the defendants in the "Fanny and Stella" trial of the 1870s), key thinkers and activists (including Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs and Edward Carpenter), and writers such as Walt Whitman and John Addington Symonds to map the complicated landscape of gender and sexuality in the Victorian period.
Paris Spies-Gans, A Revolution on Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France, 1760-1830 (Yale University Press)
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, hundreds of women in London and Paris became professional artists, exhibiting and selling their work in unprecedented numbers. Many rose to the top of their nations’ artistic spheres and earned substantial incomes from their work, regularly navigating institutional inequalities expressly designed to exclude members of their sex. In the first collective, critical history of women artists in Britain and France during the Revolutionary era, Paris Spies-Gans explores how they engaged with and influenced the mainstream cultural currents of their societies at pivotal moments of revolutionary change. Through an interdisciplinary analysis of the experiences of these narrative painters, portraitists, sculptors, and draughtswomen, this book challenges longstanding assumptions about women in the history of art. Importantly, it demonstrates that women built profitable artistic careers by creating works in nearly every genre practiced by men, in similar proportions and to aesthetic acclaim.
Congratulations to these authors for their outstanding scholarship.
Stansky Book Prize Committee