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Myra Baillie


The John Bullen Prize


Myra Baillie, The Women of Clydeside: Women Munition Workers in the West of Scotland During the First World War (McMaster University).

This is an exceptional thesis, and an important contribution to the fields of labour history, the history of women, and the history of industrial relations in the early twentieth century. On the basis of fresh scrutiny of an impressive variety of contemporary sources, the author engages in a nuanced treatment of class and gender, working conditions, and health and nutrition in the industrial milieu. Dr. Baillie makes a compelling argument in favour of a microhistorical analysis of women in the many dimensions of urban life, home and work. In the course of her study she revises the findings of previous scholars and offers new interpretations about factory conditions on Red Clydeside. The research effort here is meticulous, the theoretical skills the author deploys are of first-rate quality, and the writing style highly professional. Dr. Baillie’s sharp eye for the telling detail of local context and her methodological originality show that an assiduous, sensitive researcher can shed new light on well explored territory. The result is a thesis that offers a near perfect combination of quality and originality.

Honourable Mention:
Rebecca Wittmann, Holocaust on Trial? The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial in Historical Perspective (University of Toronto).

This is an extraordinary study, one that will un2009-06-13ies of focused, cogent arguments based on a thorough reading of newly-released materials relating to the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial of 1963-65, and the social, political and legal circumstances that preceded it. She grapples in confident fashion with the complexity of the German legal penal code and legal discourse, and bases her conclusions on an impressive range of German-language newspapers and other writings, including a significant body of materials generated by the trial itself. The author shows extraordinary sensitivity in her treatment of evidence that is by its nature disturbing, as well as a fine sense of the place of her sources in the context of Holocaust studies. Dr. Wittmann’s measured reasoning will ensure that her work will be read, enjoyed and discussed in years to come.