Publication Prizes

Three publication prizes are announced at the International Congress on Medieval Studies: the Otto Gründler Book Prize, the La Corónica Book Award, and the Paul E. Szarmach First Article Prize.

Otto Gründler Book Prize

The winner of the 2024 Otto Gründler Book Prize is Jonathan R. Lyon, "Corruption, Protection, and Justice in Medieval Europe: A Thousand-Year History" (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

Traditional scholars of medieval Europe have studied lordship extensively, often using terms such as governance and administration or even feudalism or state-formation. But Jonathan Lyon avoids such trap words in his "Corruption, Protection and Justice in Medieval Europe," and thus rejects previous narratives which assume the centrality or inevitable triumph of the state. Instead, he seeks to reinterpret the exercise of authority in the millennium between 750 and 1800 using a fresh perspective, and thereby offers a revisionist history of rule.

This book focusses on people called advocatus in Latin or “advocates” in English: those who acted on behalf of another. These medieval advocates were often tasked with two of the core functions of authority: providing protection and exercising justice, especially over church property. While such advocates could be found throughout Europe, they were especially common in German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire. Yet despite their key role and prominence, advocates have remained understudied until now. But no longer. Lyon’s study offers a history of advocates which is both original and broad in scope. Furthermore, the deeds of advocates allow Lyon to show why protection and justice in many locales remained outside of any centralizing authority for so long. In so doing, he also exposes the frailties of human nature and corruption, the abusive and manipulative use of power, which persisted across time and territory.

The Otto Gründler Book Prize is awarded to the author of a monograph in any area of medieval studies that is judged by the selection committee to be an outstanding contribution to its field. See past winners of the Gründler prize.

La Corónica Book Award

The winner of the 2024 La Corónica Book Award is Sarah Ifft Decker’s "The Fruit of her Hands: Jewish and Christian Women’s Work in Medieval Catalan Cities" (Penn State University Press, 2022).

"The Fruit of her Hands" traces the differing experience of the Jewish and Christian women who lived and worked, helping to support their households, in the Catalan towns of Barcelona, Girona and Vic in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century—a period marked by political, social and medical crisis, including the plague. Ifft Decker’s original work with hundreds of legal documents shows that the work women did managing household resources, as creditors and debtors, buyers and sellers of real estate, investors in commerce, artisans and tradespeople, flies in the face of the long-held belief that women in the Middle Ages only had low-paid, low-status jobs. It also shows that Jewish women’s labor played an important role in both maintaining inter-communal relationships and in defining the boundaries of their community.

 The La Corónica Book Award is an annual international prize for the best monograph published on medieval Hispanic languages, literatures, and cultures. See past winners of the La Corónica Book Award.

Paul E. Szarmach First Article Prize

The seventh Paul E. Szarmach First Article Prize was awarded to J-Michel Reaux Colvin for "Scoticitas: Reframing 'Scotus' in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages," VIATOR 53, no. 2 (2022): 141–75.

Colvin’s article stands out for the excellence of its writing, the clarity and nuance of its argument, and its innovative contribution to a broader academic conversation on ethnicity (which is difficult to do given how much has already been written about this topic). The article makes a valuable contribution to the field in several ways: it traces the changing nuances of the term "Scotus" over time, demonstrates the degree of intellectual engagement between continental and insular scholars, and makes an important contribution to modern historical understanding of purported medieval "ethnic" terms.

The Paul E. Szarmach Prize is awarded annually to the author of a first article on a topic in the culture and history of early medieval England published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that is judged by the selection committee to be of outstanding quality. See past winners of the Szarmach Prize.


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