Dear members of the history department,
It gives me enormous pleasure to announce that our colleague Nick Rogers has won the John Ben Snow prize for the best book written by a North American scholar in the field of British studies for the period before 1800. He received the award at this year's meeting of the North American Conference on British Studies in Portland, Oregon.
I am pleased to share the citation composed by the awards committee
Nicholas Rogers, Mayhem: Post-War Crime and Violence in Britain, 1748-53 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012)
In a book both erudite and engaging, Professor Rogers makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the political and social history of mid-eighteenth-century England. He disrupts the assumption of stability premised on elite politics by engaging with a range of popular tensions which, taken together, suggest a surprisingly serious challenge to governmental authority. Mayhem follows the problems of demobilizing soldiers in a wide variety of directions, from bawdy houses to the gin craze to popular religion and demographic enquiry, and from the centre to the localities. Rogers establishes a sense of real communities responding to real problems and demonstrates how the connections between them meant the generation of a real sense of crisis, especially when allied to the ambiguity of a military victory that felt a lot like a defeat. This is not simply the story of demobilizing soldiers, but of the ways in which their problems both reflected and exacerbated existing tensions. While each chapter shows a different element of society on its own terms, the disparate parts make up a coherent and convincing whole.
Many congratulations, Nick, on behalf of the entire Department of History.