The Cliopatria Awards
Here is the complete list of past winners of the Cliopatria Awards:
In conjunction with the AHA annual meeting in Boston, here are the sixth annual Cliopatria Awards for History Blogging. Thanks to the judges this year: Joseph Adelman, Aaron Bady, Edward Cavanagh, Jonathan Dresner, Rick Herrera, Lucy Inglis, Ian Lekus, Andrew Seal, and David Silbey. They have done a fine job, making difficult decisions to choose the best work from strong fields. Here are the winners and brief explanations of the judges' rationale for their decisions:
Best Group Blog: US Intellectual History
This well-staffed blog features frequent substantial discussions of books and issues including literature, law, culture, religion, politics and theory. Wide-ranging and widely respected, US Intellectual History is a powerful nexus of discussion and organization within the field and a bridge between American intellectual historians, broadly defined, and the rest of the profession.
Best Individual Blog: Renaissance Mathematicus
If blogs are notoriously fragmentary and centrifugal endeavors, then it's a particular accomplishment that Renaissance Mathematicus gives such a coherent picture of scientific and theological endeavor in the 16th and 17th-century. Calling himself a"myths-of-science buster," Thony Christie convincingly shows the interconnections, idiosyncrasies, and rivalries (the"Royal Rumble") of Renaissance scientists as well as their vaunted individual genius. And yet, if Christie writes authoritatively -- sometimes obsessively so -- the author's sense of humour ensures that the reader is never intimidated. It is, in fact, a light-hearted blog, and that's why it works: the history of science can be taken too seriously, and can be detached from life as it's lived. Renaissance Mathematicus never lunges too deeply into esoterics, and often connects back to the present-day.
Best New Blog: PhD Octopus
Edgy and substantive, this lively production by five Ph.D. students covers historical theory, public policy in historical context, political art and music, sport history, and just about anything else that they think is worth sustained attention. Contributor"Luce" wrote recently,"I think the posts in this blog are enough to justify the historian's use of the past to look with fresh and more critical eyes at the present." But Ph.D. Octopus is much more than commentary: the history is nuanced and the writing leavened by senses of wonder and humor in roughly equal measures.
Best Post: Mike Dash,"The Emperor's Electric Chair," A Blast from the Past, 9 September.
The judges felt that"The Emperor's Electric Chair" wove together a variety of themes, including colonialism, modernity, and the challenges of unreliable sources into what was an engagingly told, entertaining, and ultimately important historical tale.
Best Series of Posts: David Blight, William Freehling, Adam Goodheart, Jamie Malanowski, and others,"Disunion" NYT's Opinionator, 30 October- .
The judges felt that Disunion was a paragon of the post-blogging genre that blended strong writing, deep historical research, and a careful and often poignant attention to the historical actors, both large and small, as the United States fractured itself in the winter of 1860.
Lapata's essays are not so much written as they are assembled, careful collages of visuals, text, and quotations always cunningly integrated into architectural unities. Her style always serves her subject: in pieces like"The Reluctant Feudalist," the contrapuntal conversation she stages between writers and readers, past and present, catches so much more of what is ambiguous or fragmentary about her subject that a more didactic or polemic style would ever allow. In"The Stay-at-Home Man," her narrative pursuit of the elusive and mystifying Naiyer Masud is just as appropriately elusive as the author himself. It is the mark of a superb writer that calling her a south-Asian historian, literary critic, visual artist, or narrative non-fiction writer doesn't seem to quite catch the totality. It's the particular way she combines all at once -- with never a comma or full-stop out of place, never a tiresome clause -- that makes her writing shine.
In conjunction with the AHA annual meeting in San Diego, here are the fifth 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, Miriam Burstein, Paul Harvey, Chris Jones, Rob MacDougall, David Silbey, Randall Stephens, and Jeremy Young. They have done a fine job. It's the year of the female history blogger, with women having won at least 4½ of the 6 awards. It's also the first year in which one blog won two awards. Here are the winners and brief explanations of the judges' rationale for their decisions:
Best Group Blog:Curious Expeditions
If you're not jealous of their travels, you need your head examined: Dylan Thuras and Michelle Enemark scour the world in search of history in its raw essentials--with a special taste for the wondrous, macabre, or obscure. Their analysis is smart, their enthusiasm is infectious, and their (plentiful) images are beautiful and haunting."I found myself waiting breathlessly for the next twist and turn in several different museums, just as if I were there," one judge reported,"and their non-museum-related posts are equally spectacular."
Best Individual Blog:Georgian London
It's a really nice blog that balances popular history and some decent research. The posts are uniformly good, and the blogger, Lucy Inglis, uses images that enhance and frame the posts.
Best New Blog:Georgian London
From London's 18th century rookeries, to being a dwarf in 18th century England, to Jeremy Bentham and the birth of a surveillance society, to what it was like to have gout, to bizarre birth stories from Gentleman's Magazine, Georgian London informs, instructs, and entertains us on ordinary life in 18th century London, emphasizing especially the artisan and immigrant populations of the city. This is fascinating social history presented in blog form, and is a terrific younger entrant into the burgeoning history blog scene.
Best Post: Rachel Leow's"Curating the Oceans: The Future of Singapore's Past," A Historian's Craft, 14 July 2009.
"Curating the Oceans" is just a great post. It demonstrates what a really good history blog post can do. Rachel uses images well, and presents a coherent essay on a historical topic we might not otherwise hear much about. It's also a very nice example of good history aimed at a popular audience.
Best Series of Posts: Heather Cox Richardson's"Richardson's Rules of Order," The Historical Society Blog, 20 March 2009 - .
"Please remember that your professors are human and it's hard work to stand in front of a hundred pairs of eyes and talk for an hour," Heather Cox Richardson of U. Mass Amherst writes in a series of 9 (and counting) posts that collectively provide an instructive, gentle, and eminently useful guide for college students in history classes. In an age of changing rules and often a challenging lack of civility, Richardson provides both useful information and a practical etiquette manual which could help improve the classroom environment everywhere. This series of posts will soon be finding its way onto syllabi in history courses across the country.
Best Writer: The Headsman, at Executed Today.
Given its format--the story behind a different historical execution, every day -- Executed Today could by rights be monotonous and depressing. It is testament to"The Headsman's" skills as a writer and storyteller that his blog is nothing of the sort. An engaging and astonishingly prolific blogger, The Headsman writes witty and accessible prose, jumps from continent to continent and century to century with ease, and despite two years of daily blogging he is still finding new things to do with his premise.
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, Tenured Radical,"What Would Natalie Zemon Davis Do?" 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.
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.
The Cliopatria Awards, 2007
At the 5th Annual Banquet of the Cliopatricians at the American Historical Association convention in Washington, DC, the winners of The Cliopatria Awards for 2007 were announced. Many thanks to Jeremy Boggs of ClioWeb and George Mason University who designed the logo for The Cliopatria Awards. Thanks also to the judges who made the difficult decisions in selecting winners of the awards from among the many excellent nominations: Ancarett, Timothy Burke, Miriam Elizabeth Burstein, Rebecca Goetz, Paul Harvey, Sharon Howard, Elizabeth Klaczynski, Adam Roberts, and John Carter Wood. They have done a fine job. Here, then, are the winners and brief explanations of the judge's rationale for their decisions:
Best Group Blog: In the Middle
In the Middle is a medievalist blog, written by J. J. Cohen, Mary Kate Hurley, Eileen Joy, and Karl Steel. We were impressed by the blog's interdisciplinary approach, its consistently intelligent prose, its effective blend of wit and genuine scholarship, and its ability to follow the medieval wherever it might lead-from popular culture to high theory. In recent months, posts have ranged from Beowulf at the movies to the significance of animals in the middle ages. As one committee member remarked, this is, in many ways, a"model group blog."
Best Individual Blog: Civil War Memory
Kevin Levin's Civil War Memory is an impressive individual blog, with a track record of several years. It commonly offers the best of both military history blogging and history blogging about the broader political, intellectual, and social context of regional conflict. This past year, for example, Civil War Memory has devoted considerable attention to the Lost Cause myth and the quest for Black Confederates.
Best New Blog: Religion in American History
Religion in American History is a well-written blog with a clear focus, a great example of how blogging can be used to present scholarship in a specialist academic field to a much wider audience and to create solid practical resources for teachers and researchers. With a varied mix of commentaries, news, useful announcements and book reviews, the writers engage with both scholarly and popular history issues and show the relevance of religion in history to religious issues today.
Best Post: Timothy Burke,"Knowledge is Inconvenient," Cliopatria, 27 September
In tackling Michael Medved's Six Inconvenient Truths about the Atlantic Slave Trade, Tim Burke performed one of the primary functions of excellent history blogging. He identified bad history and patiently explained what was so bad about it. In light of Burke's argument, Medved's caricature of current scholarship and teaching about the Atlantic slave trade was exposed as a fraud.
Morris became fascinated by the cannonballs pictured in Roger Fenton's Crimean war photographs,"Valley of the Shadow of Death": was the second photograph, in which cannonballs can be seen scattered on the road,"staged"? Morris' quest for the answer not only demonstrated the process of historical research in action, but also raised a number of pertinent questions about photographs as historical documents. For depth, attention to detail (including a trip to the Crimea!) and narrative flair, this series was unmatched.
Best Writer: Caleb Crain, Steamboats are Ruining Everything
The judges' aim was to reward writing that is well tailored to the history blogosphere, accessible, memorable and consistently history-oriented. Caleb Crain is always readable and thought-provoking; an engaging writer who pays attention to the constraints of the blog format but breaks them with style on occasion.
At the 4th Annual Banquet of the Cliopatricians at the American Historical Association convention in Atlanta, the winners of The Cliopatria Awards for 2006 were announced. Many thanks to Jeremy Boggs of ClioWeb and George Mason University who designed the logo for The Cliopatria Awards. Thanks also to the judges who made the difficult decisions in selecting winners of the awards from among the many excellent nominations: Alan Allport, Martha Bridgam, Ben Brumfield, Miriam Burstein, Rebecca Goetz, Rob MacDougall, Caleb McDaniel, Nathanael Robinson, and Brandon Watson. They have done a fine job. Here, then, are the winners, short identifications of them, and brief explanations of the judge's rationale for their decisions:
Best Individual Blog: David Noon's Axis of Evel Knievel
Recently using an"on this awful day in history" format to highlight eclectic examples of the unforgivable, Axis of Evel Knieval employs its acidic wit with forensic precision.
David H. Noon is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alaska, Southeast, at Juneau.
Best Group Blog: Mark Grimsley, Brooks Simpson, and others at Civil Warriors
Lively, smart, and welcoming, with members from both inside and outside the academy plus an active community of readers and commenters, Civil Warriors has become a central hub around which an entire portion of the history blogosphere revolves. The war itself is the jumping-off point, but conversations at Civil Warriors engage the craft of history, the heritage industry around the war, and the very nature of historical memory. Civil Warriors offers an admirable model of interaction between professional historians, lay enthusiasts, and the broader public that is not only civil but productive, inspiring, and fun.
Brooks D. Simpson, a Professor of History at Arizona State University, and Mark Grimsley, an Associate Professor of History at Ohio State University, are joined by others at Civil Warriors.
Best New Blog: William J. Turkel's Digital History Hacks
William J. Turkel's Digital History Hacks goes beyond new media platitudes and internet hype to demonstrate in word and deed what history in the twenty-first century will be all about. From the nuts and bolts of spidering and scraping to the loftiest questions about what historians do and why, Digital History Hacks points the way to a brave new world with infectious enthusiasm and blazing imagination.
William J. Turkel is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario.
Best Post: John Jordan,"For a Canadian Wikipedia," Participant Historian, 7 November 2006
An opening bid in an intriguing historiographical conversation, much larger on speculations than overconfident assertions - in other words, everything that a mature, exemplary blog post ought to be.
John Jordan is a Canadian student.
Chris Bray achieves rare insights into the events of the present by bringing his knowledge of the past to bear on his experiences as a soldier. He peers through the fog of war, revealing the problems caused by rhetoric and optimism in conducting war.
Chris Bray is a doctoral candidate in history at UCLA.
Best Writer: Alan Baumler at Frog in a Well
Of all the nominations, the judges felt that Alan Baumler's writing for Frog in a Well is the finest example of how blogs can make history accessible. He stands in the middle ground between scholar and non-scholar, adeptly demystifying historical and academic issues, bringing clarity to debates with his own arguments, and enlightening the unfamiliar of Asian history and culture.
Alan Baumler is an Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
At Saturday's session,"Were All the World a Blog: History Bloggers and History Blogs," at the AHA convention in Philadelphia, the winners of The Cliopatria Awards were announced.
First, many thanks to Jeremy Boggs of ClioWeb and George Mason University who designed the logo for The Cliopatria Awards. Thanks also to the judges who made the difficult decisions in selecting winners of the awards from among the many excellent nominations: Manan Ahmed, Another Damned Medievalist, Natalie Bennett, Timothy Burke, Jonathan Dresner, Hiram Hover, Sharon Howard, Adam Kotsko, and Brian Ulrich. They have done a fine job. Here, then, are the winners, short identifications of them, and brief explanations of the judge's rationale for their decisions:
Best Individual Blog: Mark Grimsley's Blog Them Out of the Stone Age
"Blog Them Out of the Stone Age is the finest example of the application of a historian's passion and tradecraft in the new medium of blogging. It combines research, analysis and pedagogy issues with a keen desire to engage with the broader public."
Mark Grimsley is Associate Professor of History at Ohio State University
Best Group Blog: K. M. Lawson, Jonathan Dresner, and others, at Frog in a Well
"After much thought, the judges chose the Frog in a Well project as a whole, rather than singling out any one of its constituent parts: not only do they feature overlapping personnel and a considerable degree of shared identity and purpose, all have been characterized by diverse contributors, strong historical content and consistently high quality writing. Both individually and as a whole, they represent a great achievement and a model to inspire and challenge in the future."
K. M. Lawson is a graduate student in history at Harvard; Jonathan Dresner is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. They are joined in Frog in a Well/Japan, Frog in a Well/Korea, and Frog in a Well/China by a number of other professors and students of east Asian studies.
Best New Blog:"PK"'s BibliOdyssey
"BibliOdyssey has only been on-line since September of last year, but has already amassed a significant following for the dramatic and thought-provoking historical images and books featured there. This unusually visual blog by"PK" brings together a wide variety of on-line materials and original scans, and will provide teachers and researchers and hobbyists alike with rich graphic and bibliographic sources."
"PK" blogs pseudonymously.
Best Post: Rob MacDougall's"Turk 182" at Old is the New New (9 January 2005)
"Rob MacDougall's ‘Turk 182' brilliantly traversed time and genres to illuminate the abiding fascination with Automata. His use of varied sources, erudition and clear affection for the subject-matter highlights it as the best post of the year."
Rob MacDougall is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario.
"The judges thought that, of the nominations, this was the best example of historical scholarship. It was a well-written, thoughtful and accessible essay about an important historiographical movement that may be unfamiliar to many non-specialist readers, while for academic historians it discussed a less familiar aspect of a well-known subject. As such, it represented an excellent example of the uses historians can make of blogs both to explore their ideas and to increase understanding of the past and of the discipline of history."
Nathanael Robinson is a graduate student in Comparative History at Brandeis.
Best Writer: Timothy Burke at Easily Distracted
"Timothy Burke writes strong, clear prose that advances interesting ideas and moves debates in new directions. His energetic and considered writing stands out even in such a competitive category as this one, and reaches out to historians, other academics and non-academics alike with great skill."
Timothy Burke is Associate Professor of History at Swarthmore.
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