Monday, December 2, 2019

Surrency Article Prize to Evans

Continuing our series of posts on the prizes and honors announced at the recent meeting of the American Society for Legal History, we are delighted to announce the winner of the Surrency Article Prize, "for the best article published in the Society’s journal, the Law and History Review." This year's winner is Catherine L. Evans (University of Toronto) for her article “Heart of Ice: Indigenous Defendants and Colonial Law in the Canadian North-West.” The article appeared in Volume 36, no. 2 (May 2018).

The citation from the committee:
Catherine L. Evans’ essay offers a compelling account of a deeply eerie incident in the late nineteenth-century Canadian Northwest Territory, the killing of an older woman believed to be a wendigo (malevolent spirit) by three Cree men who were acting in accordance with Cree law, their subsequent criminal trial, and the balance struck between Cree and colonial law by colonial officials in mitigation. The article offers an extremely subtle assessment of legal pluralism on a colonial frontier by arguing that the trial of the wendigo killers must be incorporated with the better-known corpus of trials held in the aftermath of Louis Riel’s contemporaneous territorial “rebellion,” which displayed a completely different face of the colonial state. This memorable essay avoids easy answers without dismissing prior scholarship, exhibits excellent research, and demands that the reader consider deeply both the brutalities and the cracks in colonial law.
The members of this year's Surrency Article Prize Committee were Cornelia Dayton (Chair)
(University of Connecticut); Alison LaCroix (University of Chicago); Kunal Parker (University of Miami); Christopher Tomlins (University of California, Berkeley); and Laurie Wood (Florida State University). We thank them for their service and offer our congratulations to Catherine Evans!

-- Karen Tani