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Jan 1, 2009 1:17 am


The Cliopatria Awards, 2008



In conjunction with the AHA annual meeting in New York, here are the fourth annual Cliopatria Awards for History Blogging. Thanks to the judges this year, who made the difficult decisions necessary to pick the best work from strong fields: Manan Ahmed, Another Damned Medievalist, Rebecca Goetz, William Turkel, Jeremy Boggs, Lisa Spiro, Jonathan Dresner, Elle, Ph.D., Jeremy Young. They have done a fine job. Thanks also to Jonathan Dresner for creating the 2008 logos. Here, then, are the winners and brief explanations of the judges' rationale for their decisions:

Best Group Blog: The Edge of the American West

Witty and insightful, the Edge of the American West puts the group in group blog, with frequent contributions from an irreverent band that includes several historians, a grad student in philosophy, a grad student in literature, and a software developer. Always entertaining, often enlightening, the blog features snazzy visuals—graphs, photos, videos—and zippy writing on everything from meditations on Obama, to a reflection on the 1967 Detroit riots, to tips for preparing for an academic job interview.

Ari Kelman and Eric Rauchway of the history department at UC, Davis, founded The Edge and are now joined in it by others.

Best Individual Blog: Northwest History

In addition to a strong focus on the historical materials and historiography of the American Northwest, Prof. Cebula introduces and explains digital resources and techniques with great range and depth. The writing is engaging and incisive and the result both entertaining and very useful.

Larry Cebula is a Public Historian at Eastern Washington University and Assistant Digital Archivist at the Washington State Digital Archives.

Best New Blog: Wynken de Worde

Wynken de Worde is a blog about books: not only their history, but also their cultural significance and myriad uses. It's richly illustrated and always immensely thoughtful. Though the focus is on Renaissance and Elizabethan materials, Sarah Werner brings the history to life, and also addresses the present state of books, reading and intellectual property as well.

Dr. Sarah Werner is Director of the Undergraduate Program at the Folger Shakespeare Library and a scholar of Shakesperean and Renaissance drama.

Best Post: Claire Potter,"What Would Natalie Zemon Davis Do?" Tenured Radical, 19 June 2008.

In this eloquent, well-argued response to the blogger Rusticus' attack on women's history and women historians, Potter uses a 1988 exchange between Natalie Zemon Davis and Robert Finlay to illustrate how women's history can"illuminate what it meant to be human" while showing"how to argue in a civilized way." She argues that historians succeed because they persuade their colleagues, male and female; this blog post is a good example of one such success.

Claire Potter is a professor of History and American Studies at Connecticut's Wesleyan University.

Best Series of Posts: Tim Abbott on Jonathan Trumbull's"The Death of General Montgomery", Walking the Berkshires, Jan. 12, Jan. 13, Jan. 14, Jan. 17, Jan. 18.

The examination of Jonathan Trumbull's famous painting, The Death of General Montgomery in Attack on Quebec, December 31 1775, over five posts at Tim Abbott's Walking the Berkshires is good scholarly writing and engaging analysis. Abbott raises intriguing questions about historical memory, as he guides his readers through the examination of historical records.

Tim Abbott is a conservation professional.

Best Writer: Zunguzungu

Whether in his examination of Henry Morton Stanley's encounter with Dr. Livingstone, or tracing the African imaginary in Charlton Heston's Naked Jungle or his expositions of John Ford's American West, Zunguzungu is always thought- provoking and illuminating. His writing consistently demonstrates a gift of narrative and the willingness to eschew easy questions. He draws heavily on visuals to augment his readings, but never at the expense of readability.

Zunguzungu is a graduate student in English. His project is broadly concerned with tracking the extent to which"America's Africa" and"Africa's America" have been mutually constitutive -- even, occasionally, dialogic -- narratives of identity.




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