Thursday, November 19, 2020

Stein Award to Wang for "Pirates and Publishers"

Another prize awarded annually by the ASLH is the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award, for "the best book in non-US legal history written in English." The 2020 winner, announced at the recent annual meeting, is Fei-Hsien Wang (Indiana University, Bloomington), for Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019). The citation reads:

This is a fascinating study of an important but underanalyzed topic– the contested and dynamic process of the emergence of “modern” copyright law in China from the 1890s through the 1950s. Highly innovative in its analysis and magisterially executed, the book offers a brilliant interdisciplinary history of how authors, publishers, booksellers, and readers negotiated with one another. Uncovering market practices in the “new knowledge” economy, Wang maps the everyday life of copyright and piracy in relation to the emerging modern state and "new knowledge." This exceedingly rigorous, subtle, and well-researched book has major implications for understanding the interplay among law, society, culture, and politics not only in modern China but also in many places with similarly complicated experiences with modernity.

An honorable mention went to Elizabeth Papp Kamali (Harvard Law School) for Felony and the Guilty Mind in Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Members of this year's Stein Award committee were Li Chen (University of Toronto), Rohit De (Yale University), Jessica Marglin (University of Southern California), Richard Roberts (Stanford University), Daniel Lord Smail (Harvard University), and David V. Williams (University of Auckland), with Matthew C. Mirow (Florida International University) as chair.

Congratulations to Fei-Hsien Wang and Elizabeth Papp Kamali!

-- Karen Tani