On behalf of the Awards Committee of the Canadian Association for American Studies, I am pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Robert K. Martin Prize for Best Book is Dr. Andrea Stone (Smith), for Black Well-Being: Health and Selfhood in Antebellum Black Literature (University Press of Florida, 2016). In this well-researched and lucid book, Stone examines how a variety of antebellum writers, including Mary Ann Shadd, Martin Robison Delany, Sophia Pooley, and Harriet Jacobs, employed strategic discourses of well-being in opposition to the scientific, medical, and legal rhetoric that underpinned institutionalized subjugation. Stone’s work positions stories of health, from both domestic and transcolonial perspectives, as the catalysts for a politics of well-being in an era when black bodies were physically, legally, and medically vulnerable. The committee admired Stone’s meticulous scholarship and felt that the book is both a topical and groundbreaking contribution to American Studies.
The Robert K. Martin prize is awarded annually to the best book published in American Studies published in the previous year. This year, the committee also chose two honourable mentions from an exemplary field. They are Maureen Tuthill (Westminster College), for Health and Sickness in the Early American Novel: Social Affection and Eighteenth-Century Medicine (Palgrave, 2016), and Bryce Traister (UBC Okanagan) for Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism (Ohio State UP, 2016).
This year’s Awards Committee is chaired by Professor Alyssa MacLean (Western University). Thank you to Alyssa and the members of the committee for choosing our winner and honourable mentions from a field of excellent books.
–Adam Beardsworth, CAAS VP (Memorial, Grenfell Campus)