Congratulations to Stephanie Mawson

by the editorial team

Past & Present was delighted to hear that Stephanie Mawson (Cambridge) has been awarded the Royal Historical Society’s (RHS) Alexander Prize for her recent article with us “Convicts or Conquistadores?: Spanish Soldiers in the Seventeenth-Century Pacific” (Past & Present, 232 [2016], pp. 87-125).

Named for L.C. Alexander, the founding secretary of the RHS who endowed the original award, the Alexander Prize “…is awarded for an essay or article based on original historical research, by a doctoral candidate or those recently awarded their doctorate, published in a journal or an edited collection of essays.”

Prize winners receive a silver medal, two hundred and fifty pounds and an invitation to submit a further article for consideration by the editors of the RHS’ in house journal Transactions.

In awarding Stephanie the prize the judges remarked:

“This ambitious and important article examines the ragtag army which colonized the Spanish East Indies during the seventeenth century. Its deep archival research reveals ordinary soldiers to have been quite unlike their stereotypical depiction as conquistadores. They were a motley collection of criminals, vagrants and fugitives, many conscripted and mostly from New Spain, who seldom shared the spoils of conquest with their commanding officers. The author at once restores agency to these historical figures and displays its narrow limits. Mutiny and desertion were among the few pathways open to the conscripted and the mistreated. Such a small, impoverished and volatile force could not be relied upon to achieve Spain’s imperial ambitions, resulting in the recruitment of increasing numbers of indigenous troops. The article offers a compelling portrait of the early modern Philippines. Its intertwining of social and military history makes it distinctive among submissions dominated by intellectual history. Its success in ‘[h]umanising and complicating the face of imperialism’ invites historians of empire to take account of the conflicting interests and motives of the colonisers and their correspondingly diverse relationships to the colonised.”

Appropriately fulsome praise, and wonderful recognition for a remarkable piece of work; to which the Editors and Past & Present Society are proud to add their own congratulations. Our congratulations Stephanie, we are delighted that you chose to publish aspects of your current research with us.

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