Leading slavery scholar wins prestigious British Academy prize for contributions to humanities and social sciences

2 Sep 2021

The British Academy today awards the Leverhulme Medal and Prize to Professor Catherine Hall FBA, Chair of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery at University College, London.

Professor Hall is recognised by the British Academy for the impact her scholarship has made across modern and contemporary British history, particularly in the fields of class, gender, empire and postcolonial history.

The accolade is one of a selection of prizes and medals awarded today by the British Academy, the national body for the humanities and social sciences, for notable contributions to fields including linguistics, cultural history and biblical studies. Other awards announced today include:

  • The Burkitt Medal (biblical studies) to Professor Rainer Albertz, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at the University of Münster, Germany for enduring contributions to the field
  • The Derek Allen Prize (Celtic studies) to Professor Ralph A. Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Swansea University for an outstanding contribution to scholarship, particularly in the field of late medieval history of Wales and England
  • The Edward Ullendorf Medal to Professor Olga Kapeliuk, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and African Studies in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the world’s leading experts in the Amharic language, for her contributions to the study of Ethiopian and Semitic languages throughout her career
  • The Kenyon Medal to Professor David Breeze OBE for his outstanding contribution to the archaeology of the Roman Empire and to ensuring the inscription of the Antonine Wall as a World Heritage Site
  • The Neil and Saras Smith Medal for Linguistics to Professor Marianne Mithun of the University of California, Santa Barbara, for her research into Native American and Austronesian languages which represent a significant contribution to theoretical linguistics
  • The Peter Townsend Prize to Professor John Stewart, Emeritus Professor of the History of Healthcare at Glasgow Caledonian University for his biography of an influential 20th-century social scientist, Richard Titmuss: A Commitment to Welfare (Policy Press, 2020)
  • The Rose Mary Crawshay Prize to two joint winners, Dr. Helen Moore and Professor Gillian Russell, for their respective works Amadis in English, a Study in the Reading of Romance (Oxford University Press, 2020) and The Ephemeral Eighteenth Century: Print, Sociability and the Cultures of Collecting (Cambridge University Press, 2020)
  • The Serena Medal to Professor Lucrezia Reichlin FBA, Professor of Economics at London Business School, Chairman & Co-Founder of Now-Casting Economics and Non-Executive Director of AGEAS Insurance Group and Eurobank Ergasias SA, for her contribution to the fields of monetary economics and econometrics
  • The Sir Israel Gollancz Medal to The Gersum Project, by Professor Richard Dance (PI, University of Cambridge), Dr. Sara Pons-Sanz (Co-I, Cardiff University) and Dr. Brittany Schorn (Postdoctoral researcher, University of Cambridge), for its innovative contribution to the study of the etymology of Middle English

Professor Catherine Hall FBA, recipient of the Leverhulme Medal and Prize, said:

“My work on class, race, and gender over the past decades has been driven by a conviction that historical understanding of the relation between past and present can contribute to the task of tackling contemporary social, cultural, political and economic inequalities.”

Professor Aditi Lahiri CBE FBA, Vice President (Humanities) of the British Academy, said:

“The legacies of slavery remain vital to understanding contemporary Britain and they have been much discussed in recent years. Catherine Hall, above all, is widely respected for her role in shining a light on this unforgotten period and recognising its potential, most notably through the Legacies of British slave-ownership project. For years, Professor Hall has been illuminating this vital piece of British social and cultural history and, thanks to her hard work, we are able to discern critical details about British slavery and its relationship with Britain in the present day. For this, Professor Hall’s work has been increasingly widely cited and praised, and is rightly recognised with the award of the Leverhulme Medal and Prize today.”

Professor Julia Black CBE, President of the British Academy, said:

“The British Academy recognises excellence in the humanities and social sciences and celebrates the contributions of outstanding scholars in a huge range of fields. On behalf of the British Academy, I extend warm congratulations to each of this year’s winners. Their students, colleagues and the whole scholarly community look to them for inspiration.”

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