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Awards, Grants, Fellowships

Please note that many of the application procedures for ASECS awards and prizes have changed from previous years. Consult the individual pages for each award for up-to-date submission instructions. Thank you.

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2023 Prize Winners

Louis Gottschalk Prize

  • Joan DeJean, for Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast (Basic, 2022)
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In Mutinous Women, Joan DeJean, Trustee Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, has composed an arresting account of the scores of impoverished, imprisoned French women who survived forced transportation and exile to develop into the “founding mothers” of New Orleans. First victimized by their employers and families, and then, almost at random, by the implacable power of the State, these women defied the path laid out before them, only to have their stories forgotten after their thousands of descendants began to thrive along the colonial Gulf Coast. DeJean’s work represents decades of meticulous archival work, masterfully condensed into a narrative that must tell the stories of more than a hundred women, all of whom matter, without neglecting the view and importance of the collective. It is for her triumph in this balancing act, as well as for the depth of her research, that ASECS is pleased to award her the Gottschalk Prize. DeJean’s distinctive voice displays advocacy for the corpus of women she describes, while reminding readers of the often-understudied violence that could be inflicted at the bottom of the social order. Mutinous Women reminds us that whatever we might like to appreciate about Enlightenment thought and high-ranking intellectuals, the disempowerment of parts of our population is a part of modernity, too, and it is incumbent upon us to track how decisions that affect those populations were, and are, made.

Honorable Mention:

  • Paris Spies-Gans, A Revolution on Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France, 1760-1830 (Yale, 2022)
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The art historian Dr. Paris Spies-Gans’ A Revolution on Canvas is a book that fills a true lacuna in extant scholarship. Her critical history of women artists during the Revolutionary era is a welcome, beautifully constructed, and much-needed addition to our field. While underscoring the professional ambitions and achievements of the women she studies, as well as their interactions with male artists, Spies-Gans also makes a concerted effort to be international in her coverage. Transatlantic and interdisciplinary, this ambitious work deserves honorable mention in the Gottschalk competition for its major correction to the notion that women inevitably accepted exclusion from the world of art in the eighteenth century.

James L. Clifford Prize

  • Terry F. Robinson, for “Deaf Education and the Rise of English Melodrama,” Essays in Romanticism 29.1.
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A thoroughly interdisciplinary study, Terry Robinson’s article “Deaf Education and the Rise of English Melodrama” moves deftly between visual culture, pedagogy, literary history, and disability studies, revealing the density of meaning of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century bodies and gestures, and their lasting consequences in text and performance. With a stunning breadth of vision, Robinson links eighteenth-century linguistic anthropology and turn-of-the-century English melodrama to the first free school for the deaf in France. This article makes a significant and pertinent contribution to the field by showing how the “gestural expression” of the deaf was endowed with ideas about the purity of communication. Her analysis is finely tuned to both the power and marginalizing effect of these emerging notions both in philosophy and on stage. By the article’s conclusion, Robinson has effectively crafted her disparate source material into a coherent whole, and urged productive reconsideration of melodrama.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Cassidy Holahan, “Rummaging in the Dark: ECCO as Opaque Digital Archive,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 54.4
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With “Rummaging in the Dark,” Cassidy Holahan provides a timely analysis of the subjective nature of archives, reminding us of those who are both included and left out of these opaque institutions. Holahan’s exhaustive research into the history of the holdings of the ECCO and her presentation of its built-in biases makes her article required reading for any scholar in the field of Eighteenth-century Studies. The essay offers a truly humane approach to digital humanities.

  • Lesley Thulin, “‘My Case,’ Her Cure: William Hay’s Permissible Gender Fluidity and Mrs. Stephens’s Controversy,” Eighteenth-Century Life 46.2.
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In “‘My case, her cure,’” Lesley Thulin elegantly brings into conversation the careers and self-presentations of William Hay and Joanna Stephens, nimbly weaving together concepts from disability studies, gender studies, and the history of science. Thulin writes with an easy, animated virtuosity that indicates commitments to both accessibility and erudition. The author interrogates her two subjects’ fluid identities and their limitations in a cogent and timely manner.

Hans Turley Prize in Queer Eighteenth-Century Studies

  • Shelby Johnson, “‘Bone of My Bone’: Samson Occom and Cosubstantial Kinship.”
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Shelby Johnson’s provocative essay, “’Bone of My Bone’: Samson Occom and Cosubstantial Kinship,” offers a meditation on “two forms of subjectivity that coordinated difference in the long eighteenth century: indigeneity and queerness.” Johnson centers this discussion on Occam’s Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul (1772), which reveals “what it means to desire under colonial occupation.” In this work, Occam gestures toward “consubstantial kinship”: or what Daniel Heath Justice calls “an embodied practice of sovereign belonging.” This “indigenous erotic” “reflects dense sensory intimacies, including touch, sight, sound, habituatedin healing routines and condolence rites.” Occam’s Sermon, Johnson argues, “embraces this intimacy with such intensity that it exceeds the bounds of colonial masculinity.” “By calling Occam’s accounts of cosubstantial life queer,” Johnson argues, “I hope that we can . . . explore how his sensation-based intimacies indicate a refusal to think within colonial hierarchies of desire, where dominion over flesh is frequently the governing idiom of being and belonging.” Johnson has opened the field to “Native expressions of relationality,” which can help revise our understanding of queer desire in the eighteenth century.

Graduate and Early Career Caucus Mentorship Award

Betty Schellenberg, Distinguished University Professor, Simon Fraser University

Traveling Jam Pot

Alissa Christopherson
Tye Landels
Xiangyi Liu
Taylin Nelson
Natasha Shoory