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Royal Historical Society award

Posted on 15 July 2016

Article by Dr Tom Johnson runner up in prestigious Alexander Prize

Tom Johnson

An article written by Dr Tom Johnson has been judged 'proxime accessit' for the 2016 Alexander Prize.

The prize is awarded by the Royal Historical Society, and recognises publications based on original historical research by doctoral candidates or those recently awarded their doctorate.

'Medieval Law and Materiality: Shipwreck, Finders, and Property on the Suffolk Coast, ca. 1380-1410’ was published in the American Historical Review, 120:2  in 2015.

The judges commended "This article makes an original and imaginative contribution to scholarship by viewing medieval law through the lens of scholarship on materiality. An extensive discussion of various critical theories, drawn from studies across both periods and disciplines, as well as of the legal background, provides a framework for the illuminating case study that follows, namely an analysis of items ‘found’ on the shore registered in court rolls from Suffolk. Clearly structured and written throughout, the article not only reveals much about social structure and dynamics in later medieval coastal communities in England, but compels us to think about objects, agency, and how these are expressed in legal terms."

They concluded that "The combination of conceptual sophistication, broad contextualization, grasp of legal history and empirical depth is impressive, and the judges have no hesitation in recommending that the article be selected as proxime accessit.”

The Alexander Prize has been won in previous years by other members of the department, Sethina Watson in 2006 and Jasper Heinzen in 2015.