Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cromwell Dissertation Prize to Anna Leah Fidelis T. Castaneda

Another big announcement at this year's meeting of the American Society for Legal History was the winner of the Cromwell Dissertation/Article Prize. This is one of several awards given annually by the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation ("established in 1930 to promote and encourage scholarship in legal history, particularly in the colonial and early national periods of the United States."*)

The award of $2500 is "for dissertations accepted in the previous calendar year or for articles of comparable aspiration published in the previous calendar year in the general field of American legal history (broadly conceived), with some preference for those in the area of early America or the colonial period."* The Society's Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee reviews materials and offers recommendations to the Foundation, which makes the final decision.

This year's award went to Anna Leah Fidelis T. Castaneda, for "Creating Exceptional Empire: American Liberal Constitutionalism and the Construction of the Constitutional Order of the Philippine Islands, 1898-1935."

The Committee's citation reads:

This dissertation is a groundbreaking study of the foundational period of the modern Philippine state. Drawing on an extraordinary range of American and Philippine sources, Castañeda shows how the introduction of liberal and progressive constitutional institutions to a colonial context–separated powers, expanded administrative discretion, even democratic principles of governance--actually facilitated authoritarian rule, reinforcing local patterns of class domination while also smoothing the path for powerful foreign economic interests to control development. Imagined and executed on a large scale, this study makes an original and extraordinary contribution both to Filipino legal history and to the study of the legal machinery of colonialism and empire more generally.
* Language is from the ASLH website.

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