SSPHS offers three prizes for excellence in scholarship in Iberian history by junior scholars. The dissertation award, the best first article award, and best first book award are offered every three years, one each year. Deadlines are established and announced by the awards committtee; entries are usually due in December or January. Prizes carry an honorarium of $250.
Since 2003, SSPHS has awarded the annual Bishko Prize, in honor of Professor Charles Julian Bishko, for the best article on medieval Iberian history published by a North American scholar. The prize carries an honorarium of $250.
In 2007, SSPHS held the first competition for the A.H. de Oliveira Marques Prize in Portuguese History.  The prize was created through an endowment from Dr. Harold Johnson, and it carries an honorarium of $250.
This year's prizes will be the SSPHS Best First Article Award (2006-08), the 2008 Bishko Prize, and the A.H. Oliveira Marques Prize in Portuguese History.

Recent prize winners:

2007 A.H. de Oliveira Marques Prize in Portuguese History: LORRAINE WHITE, “Strategic Geography and the Spanish Habsburg Monarchy’s Failure to Recover Portugal, 1640-1668,” The Journal of Military History, 71 (April 2007), pp. 373-409.
“One member of the prize committee described Lorraine White’s article on the geo-strategic factors in the military campaigns of the Portuguese Restoration, 1640-1668, as ‘well written, well-researched, well-analyzed’ and ‘compelling in its readability.’  The rest of the committee enthusiastically agrees. This article is a major contribution to understanding the success of the Portuguese struggle against Spain’s efforts to regain the kingdom. It should be required reading for all historians studying the Iberian Peninsula, 1640-1668.”

Best Dissertation in Iberian History (2005-07): GABRIEL PAQUETTE (Trinity College, University of Cambridge), Governance and Reform in the Spanish Atlantic World, c. 1760-1810 (University of Cambridge, 2006).
“Drawing upon a wide range of literature and archival material in Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, Paquette’s dissertation examines the theory of government reform during the late 18th century. Paquette argues that Spanish regalism, modified by ideas about good government and public happiness derived from emulation
and rivalry with other European powers, led to an interesting amalgam of notions about the role of government. And he connects these ideas to government policies, especially with respect to the management and reform of the Americas, where “men-on-the-spot,” modified ideas and policies emanating from the metropolis, added their own, and helped shape Spanish reform in the age of the Enlightenment.”

2006 Bishko Prize: KATHERINE ELLIOT VAN LIERE (Department of History, Calvin College), “The Missionary and the Moorslayer: James the Apostle in Spanish Historiography from Isidore of Seville to Ambrosio de Morales”, Viator 37 (2006), 519-43.
     “Professor van Liere challenges long-held assumptions about the cult of St. James the Apostle and his presumed founding of the Spanish church. Through careful textual examination of the works of medieval Spanish historians and the development of the cult through the Renaissance and Counter-Reformation periods, van Liere convincingly argues that ‘most of those who believed that James the apostle had founded the Spanish church, as well as most of those who doubted it, forgot how recently, and by what a crooked path, this tradition had entered the Spanish historical imagination.’” (543)

Best First Book Award (2004-06): SASHA DAVID PACK (Department of History, University at Buffalo (SUNY)), Tourism and Dictatorship: Europe’s Peaceful Invasion of Franco’s Spain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), Pp. 288, ISBN: 1-4039-7502-7.
     “Though many of the submissions under consideration asked good questions, were gracefully written, and were lucid in discussing their research and sources, this book stands out above the other works. Pack's fine work on tourism and the Franco regime breaks important new ground. Its presentation is exceptional: the author writes with great clarity, moves deftly between narrative and analysis, argues carefully and has an unusual capacity to synthesize. In short, the command is striking in a first book. As a  highly innovative and an important addition to 20th century Spanish society and politics, this book will doubtless remain influential for some time.” 
     The committee also decided unanimously to award honorable mention to: ANDREW KEITT (Department of History, University of Alabama at Birmingham), Inventing the Sacred (Brill, 2005), Pp. viii, 232, ISBN: 90 04 14581 8, and JONATHAN RAY (Department of Theology, Georgetown University), The Sephardic Frontier: The Reconquista and the Jewish Community in Medieval Iberia (Cornell UP, 2006), Pp. 198, ISBN: 978-0-8014-4401-2.
     “Keitt’s book  develops a series of important points on wide-ranging subjects: religion and the court, social discipline and control, reform efforts, demonology, false sanctity and a host of others. It's based on original research that is carefully laid out and is very accessible to the reader. It is, in short, a convincing work. Ray’s book examines the participation and role of the Jews of Spain, and of Portugal as well, it should be noted, in the medieval frontiers of Iberia during the Reconquista. There is much to commend Ray for his focus and treatment. Clearly reasoned and argued, the book is highly readable. Working with a  variety of primary and secondary sources, the author engages in considerable revision and reconsideration, and this renders the book highly original. It is a significant and welcome addition to Iberian medieval studies.

2005 Bishko Prize: JAMES D'EMILIO (University of South Florida), “The Royal Convent of Las Huelgas: Dynastic Politics, Religious Reform and Artistic Change in Medieval Castile”, in Meredith Parsons Lillich, ed., Studies in Cistercian Art and Architecture VI  (Cistercian Nuns and their World) (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 2005), 191-282.
     “This article is striking for its interdisciplinary approach, combining a close reading of late 12th-century Castilian political and religious history, with an architectural
analysis of the convent of Las Huelgas. The author notes the special association of Las Huelgas with Cîteaux, and places the foundation of this Cistercian house within the context of Castilian royal politics and within a broader European context in its role as a dynastic cemetery. The author gives special attention to the role of Queen Leonor, wife of Alfonso VIII of Castile and daughter of Henry II of England, in drawing parallels between Las Huelgas and Fontevraud. In similar fashion, he details the innovative architectural style of Las Huelgas, looking at both documentary and physical evidence, and comparing Las Huelgas to other contemporary churches both within Spain and elsewhere in Europe.”

Best First Article Award (2003-05):
SCOTT TAYLOR (Siena College), "Credit, Debt, and Honor in Castile, 1600-1650"  Journal of Early Modern History 7:1-2 (January 2003): 8-27.
     "In this tightly argued and well researched essay, Taylor shows that the old trope of honor and shame as an evaluative tool based on sexuality overlooks
the more basic economic function of such social codes. Early modern Castilians regularly used the vocabulary of honor in violent disputes over credit and Taylor convincingly demonstrates that one's creditworthiness was also an important component of honor, both for men and for women.  Based on his findings, the traditional notion of honor as linked solely to female sexuality no longer stands up to historical scrutiny."

2004 Bishko Prize: RICHARD P. KINKADE (University of Arizona), "Beatrice 'Contesson' of Savoy (c. 1250-1290): The Mother of Juan Manuel," in La Corónica 32.3 (2004), 163-226.
     "Richard Kinkade’s meticulous account of the family of Beatrice “Contesson” of Savoy, her early life, and her marriage to the Infante Manuel illuminates the parentage and upbringing of the important prose writer and political figure, Juan Manuel, nephew of King Alfonso X. To do this, Kinkade weaves a clear path through an intricate genealogical maze, charting the remarkable links of the House of Savoy to the royal families of thirteenth-century Europe and offering new insights into the dynastic and international politics of Alfonso X."

Best Dissertation in Iberian History (2002-04):
AMANDA JAYE WUNDER (University of New Hampshire), Search for Sanctity in Baroque Seville: The Canonization of San Fernando and the Making of Golden-Age Culture, 1624-1729 (Princeton University, 2002).
     "The winner of the 2002-2004 cycle was chosen from a very competitive pool of dissertations, spanning fields from medieval to modern, and representing a full range of subjects, approaches, and methods. It is a display of scholarship and talent of which the Society can be justly proud. Dr. Amanda J. Wunder won the prize for her dissertation entitled: Search for Sanctity in Baroque Seville: The Canonization of San Fernando and the Making of Golden-Age Culture, 1624-1729. Dr. Wunder wrote her dissertation under the supervision of Anthony Grafton of the History Department of Princeton University.
    Dr. Wunder weaves together religious, political, literary, art, and architectural history in an interesting and significant analysis of the cult of St. Ferdinand (King Ferdinand III) in early modern Seville. Her impressive research in Spanish and Vatican archives demonstrates her command of a wide range of sources and materials. She skillfully treats topics as varied as the intricacies of a canonization process involving Rome, Seville and the court; portraiture, iconography and the art of the commemorative festival book; private religious and artistic patronage; the status of artists; and antiquarianism and constructions of the past. She combines these diverse subjects in a study of “sacred politics” (Wunder) that is clearly an original contribution to the scholarship of this period. She weaves these subjects together, deriving and building meaning into a coherent narrative that illustrates how in Baroque Seville,  “the arts served as a weapon against decline.”  Wunder takes clear positions on major issues in the wider study of early modern Spain and Europe, from the historiography surrounding Spain’s “decline” to revisionist interpretations of the Counter-Reformation.
     The thesis is superbly illustrated; her writing is beautiful in places, graceful and clear throughout.  It was truly a pleasure to read."

2003 Bishko Prize :
JOHN WILLIAMS (University of Pittsburgh), "Meyer Schapiro in Silos: Pursuing the Iconography of Style," Art Bulletin 85 (2003), 442-68.
"In an impressive display of scholarship, John Williams masterfully weaves together historiography, art history, and traditional history in a way that not only successfully traces the artistic pedigree of Silos' material treasures but also properly situates the monastery itself within the monastic and political world of eleventh- and twelfth-century Castile. It is a fitting tribute to the memory of Charles Julian Bishko, whose interests in the diffusion of Cluniac and pactual traditions caused him to traverse some of the same monastic terrain."

Best First Book Award (2001-03):
(Department of History, Eastern Kentucky University), Creating Christian Granada: Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City, 1492-1600 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2003). Pp. ix, 252. ISBN: 0-8014-4111-0
     "This study provides a detailed examination of the transformation of Granada from an Islamic to a Christian city in the century following its conquest by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Dr. Coleman has used a formidable range of civil and ecclesiastical archival sources: treaties, royal directives, municipal council minutes, episcopal decrees, clerical treatises, inquisition, financial and tax records, census data, and letters, in a comprehensive analysis, first, of the tensions and conflicts arising from the Crown's determination to convert the Muslim population to Christianity. He shows that the process of forced conversion and adaptation to the new reality of Christian rule among the city's Moriscos was more complex and nuanced than was once supposed. He reveals that the intense oppression suffered by the Moriscos existed side-by-side with a high level of assimilation among those remaining in the city and its region until the Rebellion of the Alpujarras. Second, the author explains the development over decades of a new Christian city filled with immigrants seeking opportunity in what he has justifiably described as a "frontier city" with, at least for a time, a more open and fluid society than elsewhere in the Spanish kingdoms. Dr. Coleman offers an original and persuasive interpretation of the acculturating role played by bishops, priests, and theologians in promoting the development of a religious culture for Granada's Old Christians that reflected the reforming ideas of the Council of Trent. Granada became, indeed, a kind of religious laboratory in which new ideas on spirituality and religious practice were applied and imitated elsewhere even to the extent of influencing the Council of Trent itself as it elaborated a new strategy to confront the Protestant Reformation.
     This is an important book, original and persuasive in its sources and interpretation. It will have a lasting influence on both Spanish and European history."

Best First Article Award (2000-02):
GRETCHEN D. STARR-LEBEAU (History Department, University of Kentucky), "The Joyous History of Devotion and Memory of the Grandeur of Spain: The Spanish Virgin of Guadalupe and Religious and Political Memory," Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte/Archive for Reformation History 93 (2002), pp. 238-262.
     "This article by Professor Starr-LeBeau combines political, social, cultural, and religious history to form a clear case study of how religious symbols played political roles in both the reconquest and imperial expansion of the sixteenth century.  In a model of a well-crafted article, the author demonstrates solid scholarly research in historical archives, as well as a willingness to explore miracle stories and literary sources. "
BARRY ROSS MARK (Ph.D. candidate, Graduate Theological Union, University of California at Berkeley), "Kabbalistic Tocinofobia: Américo Castro, Limpieza de Sangre, and the Inner Meaning of Jewish Dietary Laws," in Fear and Representations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance , ed. Anne Scott and Cynthia Kosso. Turnhout [Belgium]: Brepols, 2002. (Volume 6 in Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.)
     "Mr. Mark's article is ambitious in its attempt to link broader historiographical questions about the interpretation of Spanish history and the shaping of Spanish identity with the analysis of late thirteenth- and fourteenth-century kabbalistic texts. It contributes to larger debates on the shaping of ideas about race and national identity in Spanish history in a cross-cultural, sophisticated and complex manner."

Last updated, April 13, 2008