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Jan 9, 2010 5:26 am


Cliopatria Awards, 2009



In conjunction with the AHA annual meeting in San Diego, here are the fifth annual Cliopatria Awards for History Blogging. Thanks to the judges this year, who made the difficult decisions necessary to pick the best work from strong fields: Manan Ahmed, Another Damned Medievalist, Miriam Burstein, Paul Harvey, Chris Jones, Rob MacDougall, David Silbey, Randall Stephens, and Jeremy Young. They have done a fine job. It's the year of the female history blogger, with women having won at least 4½ of the 6 awards. It's also the first year in which one blog won two awards. Here are the winners and brief explanations of the judges' rationale for their decisions:

Best Group Blog:Curious Expeditions

If you're not jealous of their travels, you need your head examined: Dylan Thuras and Michelle Enemark scour the world in search of history in its raw essentials--with a special taste for the wondrous, macabre, or obscure. Their analysis is smart, their enthusiasm is infectious, and their (plentiful) images are beautiful and haunting."I found myself waiting breathlessly for the next twist and turn in several different museums, just as if I were there," one judge reported,"and their non-museum-related posts are equally spectacular."

Best Individual Blog:Georgian London

It's a really nice blog that balances popular history and some decent research. The posts are uniformly good, and the blogger, Lucy Inglis, uses images that enhance and frame the posts.

Best New Blog:Georgian London

From London's 18th century rookeries, to being a dwarf in 18th century England, to Jeremy Bentham and the birth of a surveillance society, to what it was like to have gout, to bizarre birth stories from Gentleman's Magazine, Georgian London informs, instructs, and entertains us on ordinary life in 18th century London, emphasizing especially the artisan and immigrant populations of the city. This is fascinating social history presented in blog form, and is a terrific younger entrant into the burgeoning history blog scene.

Best Post: Rachel Leow's"Curating the Oceans: The Future of Singapore's Past," A Historian's Craft, 14 July 2009.

"Curating the Oceans" is just a great post. It demonstrates what a really good history blog post can do. Rachel uses images well, and presents a coherent essay on a historical topic we might not otherwise hear much about. It's also a very nice example of good history aimed at a popular audience.

Best Series of Posts: Heather Cox Richardson's"Richardson's Rules of Order," The Historical Society Blog, 20 March 2009 - .

"Please remember that your professors are human and it's hard work to stand in front of a hundred pairs of eyes and talk for an hour," Heather Cox Richardson of U. Mass Amherst writes in a series of 9 (and counting) posts that collectively provide an instructive, gentle, and eminently useful guide for college students in history classes. In an age of changing rules and often a challenging lack of civility, Richardson provides both useful information and a practical etiquette manual which could help improve the classroom environment everywhere. This series of posts will soon be finding its way onto syllabi in history courses across the country.

Best Writer: The Headsman, at Executed Today.

Given its format--the story behind a different historical execution, every day -- Executed Today could by rights be monotonous and depressing. It is testament to"The Headsman's" skills as a writer and storyteller that his blog is nothing of the sort. An engaging and astonishingly prolific blogger, The Headsman writes witty and accessible prose, jumps from continent to continent and century to century with ease, and despite two years of daily blogging he is still finding new things to do with his premise.

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Jeremy Young - 1/9/2010

Congratulations to all the winners! All these awards are well-deserved.