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Murdo J. Macleod Book Prize

Prize & Past Winners

2024 Contest

Professor Murdo J. MacLeod was a historian of colonial Latin America and the Caribbean. He wrote, among other things, Spanish Central America: A Socioeconomic History (University of TX Press, [1973], [1984], 2008).

We invite submissions for books published on Latin America, the Atlantic World, the Borderlands, and the Caribbean, time frame of study is open. The book itself must have been published between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023.

Criteria for selection include: quality and originality of research, new and stimulating interpretations and writing quality.

Please include a cover letter with the name of the author, institutional affiliation, and a summary of the book.

Authors must be or become LACS members at the time of submission. See the membership page.

DEADLINE May 1, 2024

Send one copy of the book to each to the following four prize committee members:

Prof. Bonnie Lucero, Committee Chair
Texas Christain University
Mail to:
Prof. Bonnie Lucero
TCU Box 297260
Fort Worth, Texas 76129

Prof. Ben Cowan
University of California, San Diego
Mail to:
Prof. Ben Cowan
University of California, San Diegot
Pomona College
9500 Gilman Drive, #0104
La Jolla, CA 92093-0104

Prof. Emily Wakild
Boise State University
Mail to:
Prof. Emily Wakild
Boise State University
1910 University Drive

Prof. Erica Johnson Edwards
Francis Marion University
Mail to:
Prof. Erica Johnson Edwards
Department of History
Francis Marion University
PO Box 100547
Florence, SC 29502

Past Winners

2023 Winner: Danielle Terrazas Willams of the University of Leeds
for The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico (Yale
University Press)

The 2023 Murdo J. MacLeod Book Prize Committee is delighted to announce that the
recipient of this year’s award is Dr. Danielle Terrazas Willams of the University of Leeds
for The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico (Yale
University Press). The committee remarked on how, despite the lack of surviving diaries
or letters, Dr. Terrazas Williams composed a rich and informed study of freed
Afro-Mexican women in Xalapa, Veracruz by using notarial activities, financial
transactions, ecclesiastical records, and occasional criminal investigations. The book
presents not just snapshots but impressive family and community histories. This model
history of sub rosa agency also provides an insightful lens on regional and gender
history by charting free women’s active role in seventeenth-century
business—including slaveholding—until the Bourbon reforms and other changes left
them “archivally alienated” (p. 215). This book is beautifully crafted and written and
exemplifies strong and sober scholarship on a critical theme of economic and
Afro-Mexican history.

2023 Honarable Mention: Adriana Chira of Emory University for
Patchwork Freedoms: Law, Slavery, and Race Beyond Cuba's Plantations (Cambridge
University Press)

The Committee also honorably mentions Dr. Adriana Chira of Emory University for
Patchwork Freedoms: Law, Slavery, and Race Beyond Cuba's Plantations (Cambridge
University Press). The Committee particularly noted the way the book connects
everyday practices with broader claims about the law and the meanings of freedom in
nineteenth-century Cuba and advances Latin American and Caribbean historiography
on freedom-seeking and making.

2022 Winners:

First co-winner: Tanalís Padilla, Unintended Lessons of Revolution: Student Teachers and Political Radicalism in Twentieth-Century Mexico. Duke University Press

Unintended Lessons of Revolution is a wonderfully thoughtful book. Through her powerful writing, Padilla has narrated the radical history of the postrevolutionary normales, rural teacher-training schools that are the subject of much activism as well as violence. In her study of the places and the young students in them, she recasts along the way the social and political history of Mexico. The book mines many different archives and sources, and includes many insightful interviews and personal accounts. Unintended Lessons of Revolution puts into focus stories and struggles not often told. This beautifully written book is an exemplar of socio-political research and methods.

Second co-winner:

Corinna Zeltsman, Ink Under the Finger Nails: Printing Politics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. University of California Press 

Ink Under the Finger Nails is a theoretically sophisticated, deeply researched, and beautifully written account of the politics of the printshop in nineteenth-century Mexico. Zeltsman explores the different individuals and struggles, both religious and political, that comprised Mexico’s diverse printing scene until the Mexican Revolution. The book interrogates where, how, and why the public sphere took place in Latin America. She shows clientelistic networks of publishers and opinion formers, with the former celebrated as typeset warriors for liberal principles. Exploring issues of state formation and political culture, Ink Under the Finger Nails centers on the manual and intellectual labor of the press.

2021 Winner: 
Winner: Cassia Roth, University of Georgia, A Miscarriage of Justice: Women’s Reproductive Lives and the Law in Early Twentieth-Century Brazil.  Stanford: Stanford University Press

2020 Winner: Amy Offner. Sorting Out the Mixed Economy. The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas (Princeton University Press, 2019). 

2019 Winner: Dr. Elena A. Schneider of the University of California, Berkeley, The Occupation of Havana: War, Trade, and Slavery in the Atlantic World (UNC Press, 2018). 

2018 Winner: 
Bianca Premo. The Enlightenment on Trial: Ordinary Litigants and Colonialism in the Spanish Empire (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Honorable Mention (2018): Sasha Turner. Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). 

2017 Winner: Benjamin A. Cowan. Securing Sex. Morality and Repression in the Making of Cold War Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2016). 

2017 Honorable Mentions: 

Camilo D. Trumper. Ephemeral Histories: Public Art, Politics and the Struggle for the Streets in Chile (University of California Press, 2016). 

Matthew Crawford. The Andean Wonder Drug: Chinchona Bark and Imperial Science in the Spanish Atlantic, 1630-1800 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016).

2016 Winner: Victor Uribe-Uran. Fatal Love: Spousal Killers, Law, and Punishment in the Late Colonial Spanish Atlantic (Stanford, 2015). 

2015 Winner: Alan McPherson, The Invaded: How Latin Americans and Their Allies Fought and Ended U.S. Occupations (Oxford University Press, 2014).

2014: Gregory T. Cushman, Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

2013: Laura Matthew, Marquette University, Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012). 

2012: Melina Pappademos, University of Connecticut. Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011)2011: Richard Graham, University of Texas at Austin (Emeritus). Feeding the City: From Street Market to Liberal Reform in Salvador, Brazil, 1780-1860 (University of Texas Press, 2010)

Honorable mention: Virginia Garrard-Burnett, University of Texas at Austin. Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala under General Efraín Ríos Montt 1982-1983(Oxford University Press, 2010)

2010: Edward Wright Rios, Vanderbilt University, Revolutions in Mexican Catholicism: Reform and Revelation in Oaxaca, 1887-1934 (Duke University Press, 2009)

2009: Brian Owensby, Empire's Law and Indian Justice in Colonial Mexico. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008

2008: Juliana Barr, University of Florida, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman (University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

Honorable Mention: Noble David Cook and Alexandra Parma Cook, Florida International University, PPeople of the Volcano: Andean Counterpoint in the Colca Valley of Peru (Duke University Press, 2007)/span>
2007: Bianca Premo, Children of the Father King:  Youth, Authority, and Legal Minority in Colonial Lima (University of North Carolina Press, 2005)

2005: Babara Ganson. The Guarani Under Spanish Rule in the Rio de la Plata  (Stanford University Press, 2003)

2003: Alejandro de la Fuente. A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001)


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