The Ernest Scott prize is an annual award administered by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. It is awarded to work “based upon original research which is, in the opinion of the examiners, the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation.”
Founded by Emily Scott to perpetuate the memory of her husband, Emeritus Professor Sir Ernest Scott (1867-1939), a professor of History at the University of Melbourne for 23 years, the prize commemorates his interest in the development of Australian historical studies.
The prize’s 2013 shortlist, which consists of five books, has just been announced. One of these is from a New Zealand-based historian: Professor Tony Ballantyne, of the University Otago, for his Webs of Empire: Locating New Zealand’s Colonial Past, published by Bridget Williams Press.
Webs of Empire brings together essays from two decades of prolific publishing on international colonial history and is described by its publisher as breaking “open the narrative of colonisation to offer sharp new perspectives on New Zealand history.” The prize’s 2013 judges, Professor Philippa Mein Smith and Professor Mark Finnane, echo these sentiments and describe Webs of Empire work as a “richly documented…work that among many other contributions redresses the neglect of New Zealand’s connections to the British Empire in Asia, especially through networks of migration and mobility that connected New Zealand to India, with consequences for both Pakeha and Maori histories.”
Being shortlisted for the Ernest Scott prize is a wonderful achievement. We should note, however, that it builds on the success of Professor Charlotte Macdonald, of Victorian University of Wellington, and Frances Steel, of the University of Wollongong (an Otago graduate) who were likewise shortlisted last year, and Associate Professor Damon Salesa, of the University of Auckland, who won last year’s award for his Racial Crossings: Race, Intermarriage, and the Victorian British Empire, published by Oxford Historical Monographs.
The NZHA congratulates all of the aforementioned and looks forward to the announcement of the winner of the 2013 prize.