Award Jury Report

First Prize: This year’s Jan Lucassen Award goes to Mark Hup with his paper

“Corvée Labour and State Expansion in Colonial Indonesia”



Mark Hup wins the Fourth Professor Jan Lucassen Award:

Full jury report

13th ESSHC conference Leiden 2020

This is the fourth time that the Jan Lucassen Award is being bestowed for the best paper by a PhD student given at the ESSHC and submitted to the jury by mid-January. The award was inaugurated in appreciation of Professor Jan Lucassen’s achievements in International and Comparative Social History on the occasion of his retirement in 2012.

The criteria for the papers are:

1) They should be based on original research;

2) They should be innovative; 

3) They should explicitly strive to explain historical phenomena using the methods of social sciences;

4) Papers with an international comparative approach are preferred.

The jury that evaluated the submissions was formed by

the chair: Professor Jan Lucassen himself, emeritus-professor of international and comparative social history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, honorary fellow of the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam,

Professor Silke Neunsinger, an economic historian of global and feminist labour history working as director of research at the Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library in Stockholm

Professor Andrea Caracausi, a socioeconomic historian of Italy and the Mediterranean World working at the University of Padua, and

Professor Christine Moll-Murata, a China historian working at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany.

Awards so far

A brief overview of awards so far shows that at the First Award at the Tenth ESSHC in Vienna in 2014 received submissions of 12 papers by 12 authors. The periods were Roman antiquity 1); Early-Modern (4); 19th Century (3); 20th Century (4), and the regions covered were UK, France, Sweden, Spain, Romania, USA, and Bengal. The papers discussed the following topics: childhood, sexual offence, patronage, folklore, racial prejudice, monastery foundations, settlement patterns, rural consumption, dock work, juvenile justice, the art of diplomacy, and corporatism. Candidates based at the universities of Paris-Sorbonne, SOAS-London, Exeter, Birkbeck, Saint Andrews, Viterbo, Girona, Cantabria-Santander, Barcelona, Helsinki, Bucharest, and Wisconsin-Madison. The First Prize (1000 Euros and a subscription to the International Review of Social History) was awarded to Athan Biss from Wisconsin-Madison with his paper “The Voice of the Race: The Fisk Jubilee Singers and American Musical Diplomacy”. Three honourable mentions (each 200 Euros) were bestowed on Temilola Alanamu (from Exeter) / Guillaume Périssol (Paris-Sorbonne) and Valerio Torreggiani (from Viterbo).

In the Second Award at the Eleventh ESSHC in Valencia 2016, the jury received submissions of 6 papers by 7 authors on the following periods: Early-Modern to 19th century (1);20th century (5). The regions and countries covered were China, Sweden, Ukraine, Spain, Spanish colonial Africa, and British colonial Africa. The topics included women's resistance against colonialism and paternalism, weather shocks, cash crop production and social upheaval, Mediterranean catholic and fascist ideas about the welfare state, the spread of child psychiatric and psychological expertise, the long-run relation between economic development and population density. The candidates were based at the following universities: Cambridge (2), Leeds, Linköping, Utrecht, Wageningen (one paper, 2 authors). The First Prize was bestowed on Kostadis J. Papaioannou (Wageningen/Utrecht) and Michiel de Haas (Wageningen) for their paper “Weather shocks, social upheaval and cash crops: evidence from colonial Africa”. The two honourable mentions were awarded to Joanna Allan (Leeds) and Paco Ruzzante (Cambridge).

In the Third Award at the Twelfth ESSHC in Belfast 2018, 9 papers by 10 authors were received on the periods Roman Antiquity (1), Middle Ages (1), the Early Modern period (1), the 19th century (3); and the 20th century (4). The countries/regions covered were Europe, and South and East Asia. The topics included views on masculinity in early 20th century Turkey, state social policies in 19th century Lisbon, family strategies in 19th century Netherlands, orphaned children and political procedures in Franco and post-Franco Spain, Christian missions and education in Ceylon and Malaysia, and Marcel Mauss' theory of the gift applied to patronage in Republican and Imperial Rome. The candidates were based at the universities of Cambridge, Brussels/Antwerp, Utrecht (2), Bologna, Poitiers, Bogazici Istanbul, Santander (Cantabria), Lisbon (Nova), Nijmegen, and Maastricht. The First Prize was bestowed on Stephanie Mawson (Cambridge) for her paper “Fugitives, Apostates, and Mountain Communities: Upland Resistance to Spanish Colonisation in the Seventeenth Century Philippines”. The two honourable mentions were awarded to Janna Everaert (Brussels/Antwerp) and Zhang Zipeng and Robin Philipps (both from Utrecht).

Fourth Award ESSHC 2020

In this round of the Fourth Award, the number of papers submitted that met all formal requirements rose to 11 and thus were a 22% increase compared to the last round. This is a positive development indeed, and yet the jury would be glad about even more submissions in two years from now.

As in the previous rounds, the jury members assessed the papers independently and then jointly discussed the rankings. In this way, the jury decided for one winner and two honourable mentions. As before, the jury is grateful to Els Kuperus for her support in receiving and distributing the papers.

Chronologically, the range is concentrated from the Middle Ages, the early modern to the contemporary period. More than half of the papers relate to the 20th century. Geographically, the papers concern the Americas, India, Indonesia, and Europe. The candidates are based at the universities of Bologna, Dublin, Limerick, De Montfort in Leicester, London School of Economics, Torun (Poland), Münster, the Ecole Normale en Sciences Sociales (Paris), Colegio de Mexico, University of Virginia, and University of California (Irvine).

The thematical scope of the papers ranges between political representation, the history of material consumption, struggles of dominant citizen groups, resistance of queer people, land ownership, labour, colonialism, up to sexual risk behaviour in Haiti.

These were all interesting, well-researched and engagingly written papers that met the standards we expect from applicants. Among them, three stood out which were chosen for the two Honourable Mentions and the Jan Lucassen Prize.

Starting with the Honourable Mentions, the first is

Henning Bovenkerk with the paper “Silk for Peasants? Global goods in rural households in the 17th and 18th century Northwestern Germany”.  Henning Bovenkerk is based at the Historical Department of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität of Münster in Germany. He studies under the guidance of Junior professor Christine Fertig and Professor Ulrich Pfister.

Bovenkerk’s paper analyses globalization in rural areas of Münsterland in Northwestern Germany between 1630 and 1810. This region can be considered to be a hinterland to the international ports like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Bremen, but the question was to which extent the relative vicinity of these hubs for global goods could guarantee a sufficient supply with global commodities in the German hinterland. His main indicators for the use of global goods are silk and cotton, but also coffee utensils, cutlery and dishes, that is. “colonial comestible goods” and “allochthonous fabrics”. His uses probate inventories, a frequently applied source in research on early modern consumption. These rural probate inventories are an original source, and although the cases Henning cites are not that many, interesting patterns especially on family consumption and generational welfare or decline can be seen in the application of that source. The methods are most carefully discussed, and a comparative approach, taking the big port cities beyond the border, is evident. We may state that the topic is particularly related to Jan Lucassen’s own research interest of migration in Northwestern Europe. Some people in rural backwaters near Münster could afford colonial goods because they were “Hollandgänger”, that is seasonal migrant workers who would word in Dutch agriculture and bring back the cash to acquire items of modest luxury, such as bedclothes or coffee pots. The result of this study shows that the spread of globally traded consumer goods in the hinterland came at a lower speed, but was recognizable from the early seventeenth century onwards. The changes in consumption patterns were not a high as in the port cities, and among themselves, the three cases also differed from each other, depending on their proximity to larger townships. The interesting question remains to be further explored, whether colonialism in the eighteenth century or rather the rise of proto-industry in the countryside triggered this type of consumption.

The next Honourable Mention is awarded to Emmanuel Falguières for his paper “Land Ownership as a Social Practice in the United States. A Case Study from Kansas, 1870-1930”.

Emmanuel Falguières studies at the Centre d’Etudes Nord-Americaines of the Ecole des Haute Ecoles en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France, under the supervision of Professors Nicolas Barreyres and Romain Huret.

In his paper, he analysed the social practice of landownership in Russel County in Kansas between the 1870s and 1920s. His original approach of using township maps made by school children sheds light on the cultural element of landownership. Falguières’ analysis shows on the one hand a typical pattern of settlement in the Great Plains, first small scale land speculation which means land was bought at low price and sold many times, during the depression of the 1880s the land was sold at lower prices and to less buyers. From 1910 a new stability in landownership characterises the area and is the reason for the children drawing the maps as part of their education in local history. Falguières’ results show the structural changes taking place during the “Americanisation” of the region, people from the same place were buying the land from each other and few outsiders bought land. In addition, Falguières shows how the analysis of the social practice of landownership can be used to analyse the history of families during this structural change. Falguières paper is well structured, original in its approach and is a well-written narrative. Through his microhistory approach he connects the history of larger structural changes with the history of individuals and how these histories became part of the local knowledge about the history of Russel County.

First Prize: This year’s Jan Lucassen Award goes to Mark Hup from the University of California (Irvine), where he is preparing his PhD thesis in economics under the guidance of Professor Dan Bogart.

Mark Hup’s paper “Corvée Labour and State Expansion in Colonial Indonesia” is a very well-written piece of research. It is based on the annual Colonial Reports (Koloniaal Verslag, henceforth KV) that contain province level information on the used heerendiensten (literally `lord's services') in number of days worked. It applies the methods of social sciences (economics) in order to address the issue of the role of institutions (mainly the State) for shifts in corvée labour. While the historiography on Java’s labour coercion is often studied in private and semi-private forms, public labour coercion is less investigated. Using panel data framework of twenty provinces across thirty-two years (1874-1905), the paper analyzes the effect of state capacity and the tension between local and national state actors. He convincingly shows a complicated story of expanding state capacity at the national level inducing movement out of corvée labour favouring centralization of taxation, while expanding state capacity at the local level simultaneously slowed that shift away from corvée labour. Local state actors indeed acted in order to protect their position in the system by increasing labour duties. This tension between local and national state actors is key in understanding the countervailing trends.

The paper, which engages with labour history and economic history, is well structured, clear in the methodology used that combines social sciences and history. We find here an excellent combination of empirical historical research and social science theory and techniques. Besides, the theoretical premises are not as narrow as in much econometric-statistical research, but here they encompass both economic, social and political motivations, and Hup shows how to disentangle these. Given Jan Lucassen’s own interest in monetization processes, he sees ample possibilities to work out "the higher fungibility, portability, and storage of money" (p. 10) because there are good sources for that on a provincial level.

Summing up, Mark Hup will receive the prize because he critically combines theory and history, he builds a new database proxying the expansion of the State with some variables such as the density of the state officials, the availability of wage labour and the industrialization process.