SHAFR June 2022 Prize Winners

SHAFR’s June 2022 Prize Winners

Oxford University Press USA Dissertation Prize

Thomas Mead JamisonThe winner of the 2022 Oxford University Press USA Dissertation Prize is Thomas Mead Jamison, whose dissertation “Pacific Wars: Peripheral Conflict and the Making of the U.S. ‘New Navy,’ 1865-1897” was written under the supervision of Erez Manela at Harvard University.  The development of the America’s “New Navy” of the late 1800s traditionally has been attributed to the likes of Alfred Thayer Mahan and the “Young Turks,” who believed that the United States risked becoming an insignificant power in the face of European-driven colonialism and naval advancements.  In this impressive dissertation, Jamison effectively argues that it is time to look more closely at the what was happening in the Pacific.  Using English, Chinese, and Spanish-language materials, Jamison finds that on the one hand, U.S. officials feared their navy had fallen behind those of other nations bordering the Pacific, including Japan, China, and Chile. On the other hand, those same countries had an interest in North American naval technology, particularly that developed by the Confederacy during the Civil War, which they then employed in a number of regional military conflicts.  It was this combination of demand for U.S. naval innovations, the data that came from the use of those innovations in combat, and the perceived threat to the United States from the Pacific that played an essential part in the creation of the “New Navy.”



Micah Wayne WrightThe committee (V. Scott Kaufman--chair, Megan Threlkeld, and Charlie Laderman) also recognized Micah Wayne Wright with Honorable Mention for his dissertation, “Puerto Rico and U.S. Empire in the Caribbean, 1898-1936,” which was advised by Andrew Kirkendall at Texas A&M University.  This well-researched dissertation, which relies on both Spanish- and English-language sources, challenges earlier assessments as to when Puerto Ricans became agents of the U.S. empire. Wright assesses the impact Puerto Ricans' unique role--caught between their love of nation, their Latin identity, their divisions over independence or statehood, and the U.S. effort to have them support North American imperialism--had on the divisions among Puerto Ricans and the establishment of the "third way,” that is, a place between statehood and independence.


Marilyn Blatt Young Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Jilene ChuaA Ph.D. Candidate in History at the Johns Hopkins University, Jilene Chua is completing a dissertation entitled “U.S. Colonial Law and Chinese Life in the Philippines.”  The project explores U.S. legal colonialism in the Philippines by focusing on negotiations in the legal realm between the U.S. colonial state and the Chinese migrants, immigrants, and their descendants living there.  It sheds light on how the Chinese population—a prominent contributor to the economy but excluded from citizenship and discriminated against at the same time—concretely lived the ongoing tensions between local and global economic aspirations and colonial state-building.  The project reveals the intersection of two phenomena rarely studied together: the expansion of formal U.S. colonialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the fierce opposition to Chinese immigration that swept the United States (and several other nations) at the same time.  With its analysis of multiple facets of U.S. colonial law—immigration, citizenship, criminal, commercial, and inheritance law—Chua’s project stands out for its breadth and for the masterful use of the skills it entails.  Chua has brought together a broad range of archival documents collected from a heterogenous set of repositories in the Philippines and in the United States, in addition to oral histories, which altogether required the use of at least four languages (English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Philippine-Hokkien).  As a result of this impressive archival research, Chua is able to foreground many understudied historical actors, painstakingly analyzing their multiple perspectives and experiences.  This dissertation therefore complicates numerous historiographical strands and debates, from legal colonialism, gender, and race to labor, cultural history, and international history at large.


Mattie WebbThe committee (Ilaria Scaglia—chair, Tore Olsson, and Monica Kim) also awarded Honorable Mention to Mattie Christine Webb, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is completing a dissertation entitled "Diplomacy at Work: The South African Worker and the Sullivan Principles on the Shop Floors, 1973–1986."  Drawing on both archival research and interviews and contributing to numerous ongoing historiographical debates, this project stands out for the multiple ways in which it gives agency to Black workers to shed light on the role they played in the dismantling of the apartheid system.  Webb succeeds admirably at balancing top-down diplomatic history with bottom-up labor and social history, due primarily to the project’s wide source base, which draws both upon South African and international archives and oral histories.  “Diplomacy at Work” is an exciting contribution to the transnational history of internationalism and Black liberation. 


Stuart L. Bernath Scholarly Article Prize

Mattias FibigerThis year’s prize goes to Mattias Fibiger for “A Diplomatic Counter-revolution: Indonesian Diplomacy and the Invasion of East Timor,” Modern Asian Studies 55, no. 2 (March 2021): 587–628.  The committee (Melani McAlister—chair, Alex Beasley, and Theresa Keeley) found it to be a deeply researched and highly nuanced account of debates within the Indonesian government about policy toward East Timor at the moment that Portugal departed its former colony.  Fibiger draws on the archives of the Suharto regime to trace the ways in which advocates for annexation mobilized within the state bureaucracy, and then, crucially, with regional states such as Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia.  This story of the diplomatic push of counter-revolutionary actors such as Suharto shows how deeply the Afro-Asian alliance was fractured by the realities of the postcolonial era.  This is a truly global-facing history, which positions the United States as one important factor in a far more multilateral story. 

Augusta Dell’OmoThe committee also awarded Honorable Mention to Augusta Dell’Omo for “Infernal Handiwork: Trinity Broadcasting Network Aids Apartheid South Africa, 1980-1994,” Diplomatic History 45, no. 4 (September 2021): 767-93.  This article radically reframes historical treatments of the transnational politics of South African apartheid.  Focusing on the U.S. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)--a white,
conservative, evangelical Christian outlet that partnered with the apartheid government in the 1980s and 1990s, Dell’Omo unearths a wide-ranging “pro-apartheid movement” that countered the more well-known global anti-apartheid movement of the era.  Her work makes crucial interventions in the history of white evangelicalism, the (transnational) origins of “color blind” conservatism, the long history of the recently resurgent global white supremacist movement, and the afterlives of “white men’s countries” like South Africa in the late twentieth century. 

Diana LembergDiana Lemberg, Associate Professor at Lingnan University, also received Honorable Mention for “The Weaponization of Language Training in U.S. Foreign Relations, 1941-1970,” Diplomatic History 45, no. 1 (January 2021): 106-31.  Lemberg persuasively demonstrates how audiolingualism, a language teaching method, grew from its military beginnings to become the U.S. government’s preferred method, as it promised to reshape linguistic behavior and thereby expand the global influence of the United States.  In exploring the link between U.S. power and language training, Lemberg also highlights the porous relationship between the foreign and the domestic, as she shows that audiolingualism was used to teach U.S. students as well.  



Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize

Roberto SabaRoberto Saba won this year’s prize for American Mirror: The United States and Brazil in the Age of Emancipation (Princeton University Press), which the committee (Jeremi Suri—chair, Gretchen Heefner, and David Milne) considered transnational history at its best.  Drawing from a rich array of sources in Brazil and the United States, Saba shows how and why emancipation became tied to the promotion of capital and wage labor, rather than human rights and democracy.  Saba’s cast of characters is impressive, including journalists, engineers, missionaries, planters, diplomats, entrepreneurs, and students. Individuals and ideas circulated between the two countries, as each sought to facilitate the transition from a political economic order based on slave labor to one in which free labor ideology could reign.  The project was remarkably successful, Saba shows. Saba’s book provocatively problematizes the meaning of post-slavery emancipation for freedom and democracy, raising enduring questions about the relationship between labor, finance, and political power in modern capitalist economies. 


Paul Hirsch

Paul Hirsch received Honorable Mention for Pulp Empire: The Secret History of Comic Book Imperialism (University of Chicago Press), a beautiful, unique, and provocative book.  Turning to comic books as a revealing source for popular culture and policy in the Cold War, Hirsch captures the nightmares, hopes, and dreams of countless citizens in a nuclear world.  In his close analysis, comic books are both projections and promoters of core beliefs about conflict and power.  With their reach among diverse readers, the comic books set the discursive boundaries for many discussions about good and evil as well as strength and weakness in a time of transition for formerly isolationist Americans. Hirsch’s book blends cultural analysis with discussions of gender, race, and nationalism. His book opens many valuable perspectives on the complex sources of Cold War thinking. 

Myrna F. Bernath Book Award

Joanne Meyerowitz Joanne Meyerowitz received this year’s prize for A Global War on Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit (Princeton University Press), a welcome contribution to the literature on the history of international development.  Focusing on development practices since the 1960s, she offers a fresh, compelling intervention by directing attention to the paradoxical intersection of the rise of neoliberalism and gender politics.  Meyerowitz shows how practitioners abandoned the goal of redistribution and found new purpose by focusing on impoverished women, ultimately leading to microcredit models of international aid that re-branded female recipients as “entrepreneurs.”  The committee (Daniel Immerwahr—chair, Lucy Salyer, and Kimber Quinney) praised the book’s brisk and assured style and described it as not only a major work of scholarship but also a model of the craft that sheds light on the complicated politics of global poverty relief.


Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize

Mark Atwood LawrenceMark Atwood Lawrence is this year’s recipient of the Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize for best subsequent book in the field for The End of Ambition: The United States and the Third World in the Vietnam Era (Princeton University Press).  The committee (Sheyda Jahanbani—chair, Sarah Snyder, and Mario Del Pero) was deeply impressed by this original, elegant, and important book.  Diving into one of the most underexplored aspects of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency—his engagement with the post-colonial world beyond Vietnam, Lawrence offers us surprising new insights into how a president who dreamed of a “Great Society for the world” ultimately chose to put stability and order over the principles of democracy and justice.  The archival treasures Lawrence unearthed, the narrative he so powerfully constructed, and the contribution he has made to existing scholarship on the Johnson presidency, the United States and the Third World, the Cold War, and decolonization all demonstrate intellectual brio and rigor in equal parts.  It is an extraordinary achievement.


Yunxiang GaoThe committee also recognized Yunxiang Gao with Honorable Mention for Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press), which dazzled with its creative approach to documenting and contextualizing the many different kinds of connections that existed between Black intellectual-activists--W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Langston Hughes--and their Asian counterparts--Liu Liangmo and Sylvia Silan Chen.  Gao’s multi-lingual archival finds—in such diverse collections—reveal the potential of transnational history to tell enormous stories in exciting and revelatory ways.


  The Michael H. Hunt Prize for International History

The 2022 Michael H. Hunt Prize for International History is awarded to Roberto Saba for his book American Mirror: The United States and Brazil in the Age of Emancipation (Princeton University Press).  The committee (Nathan Citino--chair, Max Paul Friedman, and Katharina Rietzler) found it to be a highly original study about the unmaking of slavery and the consolidation of capitalism in the United States and Brazil.  Based on extensive research in English and Portuguese, the book delivers a clear, powerful argument that transnational collaboration among capitalist modernizers helped to abolish slavery and extend capitalist labor relations into the plantation countryside.  Neither a complete emancipation nor mere transition to other forms of unfree labor, the abolition of slavery fulfilled bourgeois modernizers’ agenda of integrating agriculture into global capitalist markets on the basis of formally free wage labor.  American Mirror explores the many dimensions of this agenda, from infrastructure projects and the capitalist development of the coffee trade to the publication of periodicals and the establishment of modern schools.  It shows that in contrast to the sectional crisis that led to the U.S. civil war, anti-slavery forces, including American investors, collaborated with Brazilian planters who appropriated U.S. capital and expertise as they adapted to capitalist wage labor.  For Brazilians, the United States reflected the possibilities of capitalist modernity, while Brazil showed Americans an alternative image of national development through peaceful emancipation.  The book makes new contributions to several historiographical debates, including those concerning slavery and capitalism; abolition; imperialism; and U.S.-Latin American relations.  American Mirror is therefore an original work of transnational political economy that critiques capitalism in the Marxist tradition of Eric Williams.       

Christian OstermannThe committee also recognizes Christian Ostermann with Honorable Mention for his book Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War in Germany (Stanford University Press).  An outstanding, even exemplary, work of international history, Between Containment and Rollback utilizes German, English, and Russian sources to provide a definitive account of crucial events in the early Cold War.  While generously acknowledging previous scholarship, Dr. Ostermann contributes an original analysis of the postwar division of Germany and the 1953 East German uprising. The committee congratulates Dr. Ostermann for his book, which represents excellence in international history to which he has also contributed over many years by facilitating the work of other scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. 

Arthur S. Link-Warren F. Kuehl Prize for Documentary Editing

Pinckney Project staffThe Link-Kuehl Prize recognizes outstanding collections of primary source materials in the fields of international or diplomatic history, especially those distinguished by the inclusion of commentary designed to interpret the documents and set them within their historical context.  This year’s prize goes to the meticulous “born digital” source, The Papers of the Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen(University of Virginia Press), edited by Constance B. Schulz and her staff. 

Pinckney Project staff (second photo)It is a massive project of documentary editing that stands at the cutting edge of modern electronic publishing.  Covering the period of 1792-1811, volumes two and three contain 2,099 fully edited documents and an additional 3,873 calendared documents.  The prize committee (Chris Dietrich--chair, David Reynolds, and David Nickles) especially lauded its coverage of numerous types of history–political, diplomatic, social, gender, African-American, family—that will greatly enrich the scholarship of many future historians of the revolutionary and early national eras.  Among the distinctive editorial features is the linked identification of persons enslaved by the Pinckney family. 

The full list of the Pinckney Project staff, who made substantial contributions to volumes 2 and 3 follows:

Pinckney Project staff (photo 3)Senior Editor: Constance B. Schulz
Associate Editors: Robert Karachuk, Mary Sherrer, and Marty D. Matthews
Assistant Editors: Brooke Alexander, Chad T. Allen, Robin V. H. Copp, and Rachel Love Monroy
Consultants: Monica Henry-Leibovich and Mary MacNeil
Graduate Research Assistants: Gary Sellick, Katelynn Hatton, Casey J. Lee, Zoie Anderson-Horecny, and Caleb Wittum  

Undergraduate Research Assistants: Maura Dunn, Madison Santmyer, Zhane Gaillard, Zkara Gaillard, and Riley Sutherland

Joseph HenningThe Link-Kuehl committee also awards Honorable Mention to Joseph M. Henning as editor of Interpreting the Mikado's Empire: The Writings of William Elliot Griffis.  An annotated and contextualized selection of twenty-five excerpts on Griffis’s voluminous published writings on East Asia, this volume provides a valuable insight into the perspectives of a person who influenced U.S. views of Japan.  The volume reveals a great deal about the United States during the Gilded Age and Progressive eras and is relevant to international historians interested in subjects such as racial Darwinism and stereotypes about “the orient.”  


The Peter L. Hahn Distinguished Service Award

Mitchell LernerThis award recognizes a long-time SHAFR member “whose service demonstrates a deep commitment to the organization’s mission of promoting and disseminating” foreign relations scholarship, and for mentorship, teaching, and other important service.  The committee (Mary Dudziak—chair, Mark Bradley, and Melvyn Leffler) is pleased to make this year’s award to Mitchell Lerner, Professor of History at Ohio State, and Director of its East Asian Studies Center.  Among his contributions to SHAFR, Mitch was the force behind turning SHAFR’s informal newsletter into the publication Passport and editing it for eight years.  For his vision, dedication, and hard work, the committee is proud to recognize Mitch with the Peter L. Hahn Distinguished Service Award.



The Norman and Laura Graebner Award

Frank CostigliolaThe Graebner Award is a lifetime achievement award intended to recognize a senior historian of United States foreign relations who has significantly contributed to the development of the field, through scholarship, teaching, and/or service, over their career.  This year’s winner certainly meets those qualifications.  Frank Costigliola, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut, earned his PhD from Cornell in 1973 under the direction of Walter LaFeber.  Since then, Frank has been a major contributor to SHAFR’s growth and development, serving in significant leadership roles over the past five decades.

He has been a member of the Executive Council (twice) and served as SHAFR’s Vice President in 2008 and its President in 2009.  He has also served on the Board of Editors of Diplomatic History. A ll SHAFR members recognize Frank’s many scholarly contributions to the field but are particularly grateful for his role as co-editor of Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd edition, and America in the World: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations since 1941, 2nd edition.  Also of interest to all SHAFR members was Frank’s active participation on the CIA’s Historical Review Panel (2016-2019) and as an invited consultant to the Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff in July 2014.

In addition, Frank has made many significant and pathbreaking contributions to the study of America in the world, among them The Kennan Diaries (editor); Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War, which won SHAFR’s Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize; France and the United States: The Cold Alliance since World War II;and Awkward Dominion: American Political, Economic and Cultural Relations with Europe, 1919-1933.  Frank’s thoughtful and frequent essays have explored the intersection of culture, economics, and politics, and his recent publications on the role of emotions in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy are pioneering to say the least.

We have all benefited from Frank’s insight, his intellect, his scholarship, and his SHAFR leadership.  Therefore the prize committee (Robert Brigham—chair, Andrew Rotter, and Judy Wu) is very pleased to recognize Frank Costigliola as the unanimous choice for the 2022 Norman and Laura Graebner Award.


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