Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen wins Society for U.S. Intellectual History Book Award

Historians in the News
tags: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, Society for U.S. Intellectual History, book awards, American Nietzsche

The Society for U. S. Intellectual History is pleased to announce that Professor Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen has been awarded the 2013 S-USIH Annual Book Award, which honors the best book in American intellectual history published in 2012, for American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas (University of Chicago Press). 

The Awards Committee cited Professor Ratner-Rosenhagen, Merle Curti Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, for her “originality, breadth of research, and execution”:  “American Nietzsche is a masterful historical demonstration of reception theory that brings together high and popular culture.  Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen allows us to see how Americans of many sorts came to understand their own worlds through coming to terms with or rejecting Nietzsche.  By shifting the primary focus from Nietzsche’s thought to how Americans understood his meanings, she ingeniously demonstrates how important Nietzsche was to twentieth-century American intellectual history.”

Professor Ratner-Rosenhagen will receive a $250.00 prize.  In addition, there will be a special session at the 2013 S-USIH annual conference discussing the winning book featuring the members of the 2013 Award Committee.

The awards committee recognized two other finalists for the Award, which they have named Books of Exceptional Merit:
Angus Burgin, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets Since the
            Depression (Harvard University Press)

Joel Isaac, Working Knowledge: Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to
            Kuhn (Harvard University Press)

The committee noted the contribution Professor Burgin, assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, has made to the history of modern conservative thought:  “By charting a transformation in right-wing ideas about capitalism, this book lays out a basic thesis and narrative that will be foundational for scholars working in this area.  The research base in several languages is impressive, and the writing is beautiful.  Burgin’s is the best work yet on the emergence of the Mont Pèlerin-Chicago School nexus.  His account of Milton Friedman’s gift for turning the dismal science into a booster’s ideology of economic growth and individual freedom is brilliant and persuasive.”

The committee cited the work of Professor Isaac, lecturer in modern political thought at the University of Cambridge, for the originality of his perspective on American social science:  “In this deceptively modest book, Joel Isaac delivers a tour de force of close analysis and decisive exposition.  As important as it is truly original, Working Knowledge describes a uniquely interdisciplinary group of social scientists at Harvard that kept American social sciences ‘human’ through the mid- twentieth century and demolishes the old claim that there was an insuperable wall between science and the humanities.  No one has made better sense of Thomas Kuhn and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

This year’s award is the first S-USIH Annual Book Award, as the prize was established last year.  Our congratulations to Professor Ratner-Rosenhagen and to the other finalists. 

In addition, the committee identified 11 books as S-USIH Notable Titles in American Intellectual History for 2012.  They are:

Jared Gardner, The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture
            (University of Illinois)

Raymond Haberski, Jr., God and War: American Civil Religion Since 1945
(Rutgers University Press).

Matthew S. Hedstrom, The Rise of Liberal Religion:  Book Culture and American
            Spirituality in the Twentieth Century (Oxford University Press)

Daniel Horowitz, Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the
            Postwar World (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Brian M. Ingrasia, The Rise of Gridiron University: Higher Education’s Uneasy
            Alliance with Big-Time Football (University Press of Kansas)

Andrew Jewett, Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the
            Civil War to the Cold War (Cambridge University Press)

Jonathan Levy, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk                            in America (Harvard University Press)

Mark Pittenger, Class Unknown: Undercover Investigations of American Work
            and Poverty from the Progressive Era to the Present (New York                                         University Press)

David M. Rabban, Law’s History: American Legal Thought and the Transatlantic
            Turn to History (Cambridge University Press)

Thomas Robertson, The Malthusian Moment: Global Population Growth and the                           Birth of American Environmentalism (Rutgers University Press)

Brian Steele, Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood (Cambridge
            University Press)

The Society congratulates the authors of the recognized works and expresses appreciation to the distinguished members of our awards committee for their excellent work:  David Steigerwald of Ohio State University (chair), Professor of History at Ohio State University; Jennifer Burns, Assistant Professor of History of Stanford University; and Dorothy Ross, Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor of History Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University.

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