2017 Awards (for works published in 2016)
- Book Award (14 entries)
Allyson M. Poska, Gendered Crossings: Women and Migration in the Spanish Empire (University of New Mexico Press).
Allyson Poska’s Gendered Crossings provides a new and excellent model for studies of gender in the early modern Atlantic world. In showing how Spain tried to use families and migration to advance its imperial goals (with very mixed results), this book complicates our understandings of masculinity, femininity, honor, and sexual norms. Poska’s careful study of many different kinds of historical subjects – women as well as men, poor and rich, and enslaved and free – offers a powerful example of the ways that histories of the early modern Atlantic world are enriched by weaving gender together with class, race, and European and Colonial politics.
Honorable mention: Jutta Sperling, Roman Charity: Queer Lactations in Early Modern Visual Culture (transcript, Bielefeld)
Bringing together queer theory with studies of early modern femininity, gender identity, politics, and religion, Sperling’s book is both nuanced and engaging. It offers adept analysis of a complicated topic: “roman charity” as represented through artistic depictions of breast-feeding. Filial breast-feeding had a long and difficult reputation in the early modern European world, and early modern artists, philosophers, medical doctors, and politicians each used the concept in complex ways, and towards their own ends. Sperling’s study is impressively interdisciplinary in both sources and methodology, and she embraces a wide geographic and chronological scope to ask why and how early modern culture found these images “good to think with.”
- Essay or Article Award (17 entries)
Susanah Shaw Romney, “‘With & Alongside his Housewife’: Claiming Ground in New Netherland and the Early Modern Dutch Empire,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 73, 2 (April 2016), 187-224.
Susanah Shaw Romney’s article, “‘With & Alongside his Housewife’: Claiming Ground in New Netherland and the Early Modern Dutch Empire,” offers fresh and welcome study, not only of the presence of women in Dutch colonies, but of the meanings and ideologies surrounding their immigration and colonization. The author proves that women (and especially gendered ideas and expectations about their labor, skills, and natures) were central to Dutch culture, and that ideologies of femininity were deployed strategically by Dutch colonizers as a way to justify, establish, and cement efforts at colonization and exploitation abroad. Bringing together a wealth of historical detail and a masterful negotiation of multiple analytic frames, this essay will prove useful to scholars of early modern gender across disciplines.
Honorable mention: Jennifer Park, “Discandying Cleopatra: Preserving Cleopatra’s Infinite Variety in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra,” Studies in Philology 113.3 (Summer 2016): 595-633.
The committee chose Jennifer Park’s, “Discandying Cleopatra: Preserving Cleopatra’s Infinite Variety in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra,” for Honorable Mention. Taking the term “discandying,” which Shakespeare invents and deploys only in this play, as a point of departure, Park’s article considers how he represents Cleopatra “as a product of early modern preservative culture.” Exemplifying the “best practices” of cultural studies, the article thus reframes issues of immortality, monumentalizing, and preservation in the context of consumption. By bringing together a wide and fascinating range of sources, Park deftly illuminates the play’s relationship to the broader context of sugar production, with its complicated history of race and gender.
- Josephine Roberts Award for a Scholarly Edition (2 entries)
Feliciana Enríquez de Guzmán, Ana Caro Mallén, and Sor Marcela de San Félix, Women Playwrights of Early Modern Spain. Edited by Nieves Romero-Díaz and Lisa Vollendorf. Translated and annotated by Harley Erdman, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe 49 (Toronto and Tempe: Iter Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies)
This skillfully translated edition presents ten plays authored by three women playwrights from early modern Spain. The introduction clearly contextualizes these plays in light of Golden Age Spanish theater, considers the various roles of female playwrights in this tradition, and makes explicit the significance of these playwrights and their works in the broader context of women’s and gender studies. Taken together, the plays not only exemplify the diversity of women’s as well as men’s experiences but also showcase the wide range of literary and creative outputs of the three playwrights in question. The translation is highly readable and has the potential to reach a broad audience beyond specialists in Spanish theater and scholars of literature, women, and gender. With this award, the committee hopes to encourage additional work in this important area.
- Scholarly Edition in Translation Award (3 entries)
“Juan Rodríguez del Padrón, Triunfo de las donas / The Triumph of Ladies.” Edited and translated by Emily C. Francomano. Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 52, no. 3 (2016).
The committee chose Juan Rodríguez del Padrón’s Triunfo de las donas / The Triumph of Ladies, edited and translated by Emily C. Francomano. Francomano’s beautifully translated text is presented in parallel translation, making a modern, philologically important version of the Spanish original available simultaneously to the scholarly community. Francomano’s introduction is now essential reading about this important Spanish humanist, whose history has been obscured by largely fictitious, romantic legends. The edition is published online through the Medieval Feminist Forum’s Texts in Translation Series. This open access edition has been produced with extreme care, making this a readily available tool for both scholars and students. The committee was impressed by the unique nature of the text, Francomano’s highly readable English translation, and the scholarly rigor employed to establish a modern Spanish edition. Additionally, the text’s potential for use in the classroom was considered an explicit merit of this edition.
Honorable mention: Mother Juana de la Cruz, 1481–1534: Visionary Sermons. Edited by Jessica A. Boon and Ronald E. Surtz. Introductory material and notes by Jessica A. Boon. Translated by Ronald E. Surtz and Nora Weinerth. The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe 47 (Toronto and Tempe: Iter Academic Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies).
The committee chose Mother Juana de la Cruz’s Visionary Sermons, edited and translated by Jessica A. Boon, Ronald Ed. Kurtz, and Nora Winerth, for Honorable Mention. This beautifully produced edition, featuring carefully selected illustrations, highlights the importance of an understudied figure, whose original devotional texts bear witness to her erudition and importance as an original thinker in Early Modern Spain. This carefully crafted translation is enriched by the editors’ fine introduction and notes, in conformance with the standards for excellence that have been firmly established by The Other Voice series. The translator’s postscript adds a personal touch to this carefully crafted volume that will enrich its utility in the classroom, offering a variety of ways of increasing access to the text for students.
- Teaching Edition Award (2 entries)
Alessandra Macinghi Strozzi, Letters to Her Sons (1447-1470), ed. and trans. Judy Bryce. The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe 46 (Toronto and Tempe: Iter Academic Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies).
This edition makes available for the first time in English translation all seventy-three letters authored by the 15th century Florentine widow, Alessandra Strozzi, to her sons. These letters both individually and as a series offer a fascinating window through which students can begin to discover the rich complexities of daily public and private life in Renaissance Europe. Bryce’s readable translation and well-researched annotations greatly aid our understanding of Strozzi’s content, while the edition’s beautifully crafted introduction further contextualizes the letters and their author by explaining the larger political events against which Strozzi’s story unfolds as well as the quotidian demands, familial relationships, and emotional complexities that frame both what the letters say and what their “gaps, silences and roleplaying” (23) hint at without saying overtly. By touching on the physical labor involved in writing texts such as these (as compared with what is involved in writing today) and by addressing questions of genre and women’s literacy in the early modern period, Bryce also gives teachers and students alike an exciting resource through which to explore early modern women’s epistolary practices more broadly. We commend Judith Bryce for producing this highly engaging, eminently usable edition.
- Graduate Student Conference Presentation Award (2 entries)
The sub-committee has decided not to award a prize in this category.
- Collaborative Project Award (8 entries)
Ania Loomba and Melissa E Sanchez, Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, and Sexuality (Routledge)
Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, and Sexuality is an innovative anthology representing diverse academic disciplines, perspectives, and methodologies. The highly readable essays make important theoretical, literary, and historical contributions to the field. We especially appreciated the encouragement to “feminist scholars … [to] question the cultural capital of the vision of the Renaissance as unproblematically white and elite” (3), the consideration of race and colonialism, and the wide range of people who appear in the articles. The range of sources used reflects this commitment; utilizing sources such as laundry lists and other artifacts of ordinary life expands our approach to early modern studies and affords new views into complex but often mundane relations of power.
- Digital Scholarship, New Media, & Art Award (2 entries)
WEMLO (Women’s Early Modern Letters Online)
This impressive website has thoroughly thought through how to digitize women’s letters and ensure that they are available to scholars of early modern gender but also to the larger field of early modern scholars. In other words, the project directors ensured that scholarship on women and gender would not be siloed. The website is also open access, meaning that it is available to scholars at all institutions as well as independent scholars.