Institute of Historical Studies
Institute of Historical Studies

Two IHS fellows honored with prestigious AHA awards

Thu, February 23, 2012
Two IHS fellows honored with prestigious AHA awards
Former Fellows Frank Guridy and James Sweet. Photo credits below.

Two former Fellows of the Institute for Historical Studies have been honored with book awards from the American Historical Association this year. Dr. Frank Guridy's Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010), and Dr. James H. Sweet’s Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011) were among the recipients of the AHA’s highest accolades.

Forging Diaspora focuses on the cultural interactions between Afro-Cubans and African Americans through four case studies of networks and exchanges, including Cuban students at the Tuskegee Institute, the importance of Garveyism in both countries, the connections between the Harlem Renaissance and the Afrocubanist movement during the 1920s and 1930s, and tourism networks during the 1930s and 1940s Good Neighbor and early Cold War years.  Through these varied theaters of interchange and affiliation, Guridy demonstrates how descendants of African people negotiated a common identity across national and cultural differences without discounting the importance of national allegiances. This book innovatively brings Cuban history to bear on the wider African diaspora and brings diaspora into conversation with transnational history.

Forging Diaspora received the American Historical Association and The Association for the Study of African American Life & History’s Wesley-Logan Prize for 2011. The Wesley-Logan Prize is awarded to an outstanding work involving the history of the dispersion, settlement, adjustment, and/or the return of peoples originally from Africa.  Since 1992, when it was first established in memory of two early pioneers in the field, Charles H. Wesley and Rayford W. Logan, this prize has been given annually to one or more exemplary contributions to the field, and Dr. Guridy's book is the twentieth recipient of this very prestigious prize.

Domingos Álvares received the American Historical Association’s James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History, which was established in 1998 through a donation from James A. Rawley, Carl Adolph Happold Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The Rawley Prize recognizes one or more books that demonstrate outstanding historical writing focusing attention on aspects of the integration of Atlantic worlds before the 20th century, and Dr. Sweet is the co-winner for 2011.

Dr. Sweet’s exploration of the eighteenth-century transatlantic slave trade through the life of Domingos Álvares, an African priest and healer, provides a poignant and human-centered pathway into the alienating and often terrifying world of the slave trade, warfare, imperial politics, and emerging capitalism. Álvares was able to utilize his healing skills wherever he traveled throughout the Atlantic world to negotiate the power structures at each of the widely diverse yet interconnected centers in which he found himself, and in the process developed the ability to reveal and even transcend some of the social and intellectual boundaries that might have excluded him.

The Institute for Historical Studies provided both scholars with some of the indispensable time, fellowship, and funding to make these major contributions to their fields. Along with Domingos Álvares, Dr. Sweet completed three articles, one conference paper, and an edited volume during his time in Austin. About his “amazingly productive” year at the Institute for Historical Studies, Dr. Sweet emphasized the “visionary leadership” of Director Julie Hardwick and the camaraderie of the Fellows and several UT faculty members. Dr. Guridy was stimulated by the “vibrant intellectual exchange and cross-area synergies of the seminars,” which enabled him to write a book with appeal across distinct scholarly audiences. The Institute for Historical Studies is delighted to celebrate the national recognition given by these prizes to the excellent work produced with our support.

See the AHA Awards article here:

Photo of Frank Guridy courtesy of Prof. King Davis.

Photo of James Sweet, courtesy of Marc Monaghan. (c) Marc Monaghan Photography,

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