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2008 Cundill Prize

GRAND PRIZE WINNER 2008

Stuart B. SCHWARTZ

All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World
(Yale University Press)
It would seem unlikely that one could discover tolerant religious attitudes in Spain, Portugal, and the New World colonies during the era of the Inquisition, when enforcement of Catholic orthodoxy was widespread and brutal. Yet this groundbreaking book does exactly that. Drawing on an enormous body of historical evidence—including records of the Inquisition itself—the historian Stuart Schwartz investigates the idea of religious tolerance and its evolution in the Hispanic world from 1500 to 1820. Focusing on the attitudes and beliefs of common people rather than those of intellectual elites, the author finds that no small segment of the population believed in freedom of conscience and rejected the exclusive validity of the Church. The book explores various sources of tolerant attitudes, the challenges that the New World presented to religious orthodoxy, the complex relations between “popular” and “learned” culture, and many related topics. The volume concludes with a discussion of the relativist ideas that were taking hold elsewhere in Europe during this era.

Author's Biographical Notes: Stuart B. Schwartz is the George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University. He was educated at Middlebury College and the National University of Mexico and then received his MA and PhD from Columbia University. He taught previously at the University of Minnesota. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), and twice an ACLS Fellow. His first book, Sovereignty and Society in Colonial Brazil (1973), received Honorable mention for the Bolton Prize in 1974 and his book Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society (1984) won the Bolton Prize. He is the co-author (with James Lockhart) of Early Latin America (1983) now in its 17th printing. He has also published Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels (1992), Da América portuguesa ao Brasil (2003), and most recently All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World (2008). In addition, he is editor of Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (1994); Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the making of the Atlantic World (2004); and A Governor and His Image in Colonial Brazil (1976). He served with F. Salomon as editor of the Cambridge History of Native Peoples of the Americas V. 3, South America (2 vols. 1999). He has published over seventy articles in scholarly journals and anthologies. He has been active in the profession and has been President of the Conference of Latin American History, member of the Council of the AHA, Presidential candidate for the AHA (2002); and co-editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review (1996-2001). He presently serves on the editorial board of 12 scholarly journals in seven countries. He is the editor-in-chief of the book series “New Approaches in the Americas” for Cambridge University Press. In 2000, he received the Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil’s highest decoration for foreigners.


RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER 2008

Harold J. COOK

Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age
(Yale University Press)
In this wide-ranging and stimulating book, a leading authority on the history of medicine and science presents convincing evidence that Dutch commerce—not religion—inspired the rise of science in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Harold J. Cook scrutinizes a wealth of historical documents relating to the study of medicine and natural history in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, Brazil, South Africa, and Asia during this era, and his conclusions are fresh and exciting. He uncovers direct links between the rise of trade and commerce in the Dutch Empire and the flourishing of scientific investigation. Cook argues that engaging in commerce changed the thinking of Dutch citizens, leading to a new emphasis on such values as objectivity, accumulation, and description. The preference for accurate information that accompanied the rise of commerce also laid the groundwork for the rise of science globally, wherever the Dutch engaged in trade. Medicine and natural history were fundamental aspects of this new science, as reflected in the development of gardens for both pleasure and botanical study, anatomical theaters, curiosity cabinets, and richly illustrated books about nature. Sweeping in scope and original in its insights, this book revises previous understandings of the history of science and ideas.

Author's Biographical Notes: Harold J. Cook was born in Evanston in 1952, studied at Cornell College in Iowa, entered graduate school at the University of Michigan in 1974 and, after spending 1979 conducting research in London, completed his PhD in 1981. He served as Head Tutor of the History and Science concentration at Harvard, then in 1985 he took up a tenure-track post in Madison, Wisconsin. He had by then turned to comparisons between Dutch and English medicine, and in 1987 spent a semester in Leiden continuing to learn Dutch and exploring the local archives, returning there in 1989-90. One early result earned the book prize of the American Association for the History of Medicine in 1997. In 2000, his many years of academic administrative service turned him toward returning to London as the Director of the newly created Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, which he has helped to consolidate as the world’s leading research center in the field. Matters of Exchange arose from his own transformations, experiences, and research, using examples from the Dutch Golden Age to explore the intimate connections between the rise of the first global economy and the so-called scientific revolution.

 

RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER 2008

Life and Death

Peter FRITZSCHE

Life and Death in the Third Reich
(Harvard University Press)
On January 30, 1933, hearing about the celebrations for Hitler’s assumption of power, Erich Ebermayer remarked bitterly in his diary, “We are the losers, definitely the losers.” Learning of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which made Jews non-citizens, he raged, “hate is sown a million-fold.” Yet in March 1938, he wept for joy at the Anschluss with Austria: “Not to want it just because it has been achieved by Hitler would be folly.” In a masterful work, Peter Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism’s ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft—a “people’s community” that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. The goal was to create a new national and racial self-consciousness among Germans. For Germany to live, others—especially Jews—had to die. Diaries and letters reveal Germans’ fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life. Fritzsche examines the efforts of Germans to adjust to new racial identities, to believe in the necessity of war, to accept the dynamic of unconditional destruction—in short, to become Nazis. Powerful and provocative, Life and Death in the Third Reich is a chilling portrait of how ideology takes hold.

Author's Biographical Notes: Professor Fritzsche specializes in modern German and European history and is a former Guggenheim and Humboldt Fellow. Professor Fritzsche's current research focuses on comparative questions of memory and identity and vernacular uses of the past in modern Europe. His most recent books are Life and Death in the Third Reich (2008), Nietzsche and the Death of God (2007), and Stranded in the Present: Modern Time and the Melancholy of History (2004); his other publications include Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany (1990); A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination (1992); Reading Berlin 1900 (1996); and Germans into Nazis (1998). With Charles C. Stewart, he edited Imagining the Twentieth Century (1997). Peter Fritzsche received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986. He is currently at work on "the twentieth-century lives of Franz von Göll, graphomaniac." Professor Fritzsche is Professor of History at the University of Illinois.


CUNDILL PRIZE LONG LIST FOR 2008

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Guy BEINER

Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory
(The University of Wisconsin Press)
Remembering the Year of the French is a model of historical achievement, moving deftly between the study of historical events–the failed French invasion of the West of Ireland in 1798–and folkloric representations of those events. Delving into the folk history found in Ireland's rich oral traditions, Guy Beiner reveals alternate visions of the Irish past and brings into focus the vernacular histories, folk commemorative practices, and negotiations of memory that have gone largely unnoticed by historians. Beiner analyzes hundreds of hitherto unstudied historical, literary, and ethnographic sources. Though his focus is on 1798, his work is also a comprehensive study of Irish folk history and grass-roots social memory in Ireland. Investigating how communities in the West of Ireland remembered, well into the mid-twentieth century, an episode in the late eighteenth century, this is a "history from below" that gives serious attention to the perspectives of those who have been previously ignored or discounted. Beiner brilliantly captures the stories, ceremonies, and other popular traditions through which local communities narrated, remembered, and commemorated the past. Demonstrating the unique value of folklore as a historical source, Remembering the Year of the French offers a fresh perspective on collective memory and modern Irish history.


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Sarah CARTER

The Importance of Being Monogamous: Marriage and Nation Building in Western Canada to 1915
(Co-published by The University of Alberta Press and Athabasca University Press)
Sarah Carter provides a detailed description of marriage as a diverse social institution in nineteenth-century Western Canada, and the subsequent ascendancy of Christian, lifelong, heterosexual, monogamous marriage as an instrument to implement dominant British-Canadian values. It took work to impose the monogamous model of marriage as the region was home to a varied population of Aboriginal people and newcomers such as the Mormons, each of whom had their own definitions of marriage, including polygamy and flexible attitudes toward divorce. The work concludes with an explanation of the negative social consequences for women, particularly Aboriginal women, that arose as a result of the imposition of monogamous marriage.


Matthew CONNELLY

Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population
(Harvard University Press)
Fatal Misconception is the disturbing story of our quest to remake humanity by policing national borders and breeding better people. As the population of the world doubled once, and then again, well-meaning people concluded that only population control could preserve the "quality of life." This movement eventually spanned the globe and carried out a series of astonishing experiments, from banning Asian immigration to paying poor people to be sterilized. Supported by affluent countries, foundations, and non-governmental organizations, the population control movement experimented with ways to limit population growth. But it had to contend with the Catholic Church's ban on contraception and nationalist leaders who warned of "race suicide." The ensuing struggle caused untold suffering for those caught in the middle—particularly women and children. It culminated in the horrors of sterilization camps in India and the one-child policy in China. Matthew Connelly offers the first global history of a movement that changed how people regard their children and ultimately the face of humankind. It was the most ambitious social engineering project of the twentieth century, one that continues to alarm the global community. Though promoted as a way to lift people out of poverty—perhaps even to save the earth—family planning became a means to plan other people's families. With its transnational scope and exhaustive research into such archives as Planned Parenthood and the newly opened Vatican Secret Archives, Connelly's withering critique uncovers the cost inflicted by a humanitarian movement gone terribly awry and urges renewed commitment to the reproductive rights of all people.



John DARWIN

After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000
(Allen Lane: Penguin Press)
After Tamerlane is an immensely important and stimulating work. It takes a fresh look at our global past. Our idea of world history is still dominated by the view from the West: it is Europe's expansion that takes centre-stage. But for much of the six-hundred year span of this book. Asia's great empires seemed much more than a match for the intruders from Europe. It took a revolution in Eurasia to change this balance of power, although never completely. The Chinese empire, against all the odds, has survived to this day. The British empire came and went. The Nazi empire was crushed almost at once. The rise, fall and endurance of empires—and the causes behind them—remain one of the most fascinating puzzles in world history.



Saul FRIEDLÄNDER

The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945
(HarperCollins Publishers)
The extermination of the Jews of Europe triggers disbelief. This volume presents a thorough historical study of the events while attempting to keep some of the traces of the primary sense of disbelief. The Years of Extermination is based on a vast array of contemporary sources and recent historical literature. Its interpretive framework is founded on the lethal impact of several converging factors: The growing crisis and the collapse of liberal democracy throughout continental Europe on the eve of the war and during its first year, and the anti-Semitic tradition it exacerbated; the raging anti-Jewish campaign of Adolph Hitler’s Germany and the readiness of its leader, at a given point in time, to implement his extermination threats against the Jews; the course of the war that became total in 1941 and offered Hitler the context and the circumstances to launch the “Final Solution.” The Holocaust as history extends beyond the usual analysis of German policies, decisions, and measures that led to this most systematic and sustained of modern genocides. It includes the reactions of the surrounding world (authorities, populations, churches, and social elites), related facets of everyday life throughout the continent, and their individual expressions. All these elements demand, as is attempted here, one single integrated narration.


Ramachandra GUHA

India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy
(HarperCollins Publishers)
Born against a background of privation and civil war, divided along lines of caste, class, language and religion, independent India emerged, somehow, as a united and democratic country. This remarkable book tells the full story—the pain and the struggle, the humiliations and the glories—of the world's largest and least likely democracy. Ramachandra Guha writes compellingly of the myriad protests and conflicts that have peppered the history of free India. But he writes also of the factors and processes that have kept the country together (and kept it democratic), defying numerous prophets of doom who believed that its poverty and heterogeneity would force India to break up or come under autocratic rule. Once the Western world looked upon India with a mixture of pity and contempt; now it looks upon India with fear and admiration. Moving between history and biography, this story of modern India is peopled with extraordinary characters. Guha gives fresh insights on the lives and public careers of those long-serving prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. There are vivid sketches of the major "provincial" leaders whose province was as large as a European country: the Kashmiri rebel turned ruler Sheikh Abdullah; the Tamil film actor turned politician M. G. Ramachandran; the Naga secessionist leader Angami Zapu Phizo; the socialist activist Jayaprakash Narayan. But the book also writes with feeling and sensitivity about lesser known (though not necessarily less important) Indians—peasants, tribals, women, workers and musicians. Massively researched and elegantly written, India After Gandhi is at once a magisterial account of India's rebirth and the work of a major scholar at the height of his powers.


Leor HALEVI

Muhammad's Grave: Death Rites and the Making of Islamic Society
(Columbia University Press)
A history of death, ritual, and society, Leor Halevi argues that Islamic funerary rites expressed new social and religious ideals in the cities of Arabia, Mesopotamia, and the eastern Mediterranean world. On the basis of oral traditions, jurists elaborated a funerary code to shape Muslim attitudes toward the body and society. They endeavored to establish conventions for handling Muslim corpses; to distinguish Islamic rites from Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian rites; and to change the way men and women interacted publicly and privately. Leor Halevi imaginatively plays prescriptive texts against material culture and advances new ways of interpreting highly contested sources. His original research reveals that religious scholars of the early Islamic period produced codes of funerary law not only to define the handling of a Muslim corpse but also to transform everyday urban practices. Relying on oral traditions, these scholars established new social patterns in the cities of Arabia, Mesopotamia, and the eastern Mediterranean. They distinguished Islamic rites from Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian rites and changed the way men and women interacted publicly and privately.


Judith HERRIN

Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire
(Princeton University Press)
Byzantium. The name evokes grandeur and exoticism—gold, cunning, and complexity. In this unique book, Judith Herrin unveils the riches of a quite different civilization. Avoiding a standard chronological account of the Byzantine Empire's millennium-long history, she identifies the fundamental questions about Byzantium—what it was, and what special significance it holds for us today. Bringing the latest scholarship to a general audience in accessible prose, Herrin focuses each short chapter around a representative theme, event, monument, or historical figure, and examines it within the full sweep of Byzantine history—from the foundation of Constantinople, the magnificent capital city built by Constantine the Great, to its capture by the Ottoman Turks. She argues that Byzantium's crucial role as the eastern defender of Christendom against Muslim expansion during the early Middle Ages made Europe—and the modern Western world—possible. Herrin captivates us with her discussions of all facets of Byzantine culture and society. She walks us through the complex ceremonies of the imperial court. She describes the transcendent beauty and power of the church of Hagia Sophia, as well as chariot races, monastic spirituality, diplomacy, and literature. She reveals the fascinating worlds of military usurpers and ascetics, eunuchs and courtesans, and artisans who fashioned the silks, icons, ivories, and mosaics so readily associated with Byzantine.


Erez MANELA

The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism
(Oxford University Press)
This book is the first to place the 1919 Revolution in Egypt, the Rowlatt Satyagraha in India, the May Fourth movement in China, and the March First uprising in Korea in the context of a broader "Wilsonian moment" that challenged the existing international order. Using primary source material from America, Europe, and Asia, historian Erez Manela tells the story of how emerging nationalist movements appropriated Wilsonian language and adapted it to their own local culture and politics as they launched into action on the international stage. The rapid disintegration of the Wilsonian promise left a legacy of disillusionment and facilitated the spread of revisionist ideologies and movements in these societies; future leaders of Third World liberation movements—Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Jawaharlal Nehru, among others—were profoundly shaped by their experiences at the time.


Gregg MITMAN

Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape Our Lives and Landscapes
(Yale University Press)
Allergy is the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. More than fifty million Americans suffer from allergies, and they spend an estimated $18 billion coping with them. Yet despite advances in biomedicine and enormous investment in research over the past fifty years, the burden of allergic disease continues to grow. Why have we failed to reverse this trend? Breathing Space offers an intimate portrait of how allergic disease has shaped American culture, landscape, and life. Drawing on environmental, medical, and cultural history and the life stories of people, plants, and insects, Mitman traces how America’s changing environment from the late 1800s to the present day has led to the epidemic growth of allergic disease. We have seen a never-ending stream of solutions to combat allergies, from hay fever resorts, herbicides, and air-conditioned homes to numerous potions and pills. But, as Mitman shows, despite the quest for a magic bullet, none of the attempted solutions has succeeded. Until we address how our changing environment—physical, biological, social, and economic—has helped to create America’s allergic landscape, that hoped-for success will continue to elude us.


Barrie WILSON

How Jesus Became Christian
(Random House of Canada Limited)
In How Jesus Became Christian, Barrie Wilson asks, “How did a young rabbi become the god of a religion he wouldn’t recognize, one which was established through the use of calculated anti-Semitism?” Colourfully recreating the world of Jesus Christ, Wilson brings the answer to life by looking at the rivalry between the “Jesus movement,” informed by the teachings of Matthew and adhering to Torah worship, and the “Christ movement,” headed by Paul, which shunned Torah. Wilson suggests that Paul’s movement was not rooted in the teachings and sayings of the historical Jesus, but solely in Paul’s mystical vision of Christ, a man Paul actually never met. He then shows how Paul established the new religion through anti-Semitic propaganda, which ultimately crushed the Jesus Movement. Sure to be controversial, this is an exciting, well-written popular religious history that cuts to the heart of the differences between Christianity and Judaism, to the origins of one of the world’s great religions and, ultimately, to the question of who Jesus Christ really was—a Jew or a Christian.


Jason R. YOUNG

Rituals of Resistance: African Atlantic Religion in Kongo and the Lowcountry South in the Era of Slavery
(Louisiana State University Press)
In Rituals of Resistance Jason R. Young explores the religious and ritual practices that linked West-Central Africa with the Lowcountry region of Georgia and South Carolina during the era of slavery. The choice of these two sites mirrors the historical trajectory of the transatlantic slave trade which, for centuries, transplanted Kongolese captives to the Lowcountry through the ports of Charleston and Savannah. Analyzing the historical exigencies of slavery and the slave trade that sent not only men and women but also cultural meanings, signs, symbols, and patterns across the Atlantic, Young argues that religion operated as a central form of resistance against slavery and the ideological underpinnings that supported it.

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