Monday, December 7, 2020

Cromwell Dissertation Prize to Tycko

We have word that the William Nelson Cromwell Dissertation Prize, awarded by the trustees of the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Cromwell Prizes of the American Society for Legal History, has gone to Dr. Sonia Tycko, Oxford University,  for “Captured Consent: Bound Freedom of Contract in Early Modern England and English America.”  From the recommendation of the ASLH committee:

In an extraordinarily creative and imaginative dissertation, "Captured Consent: Bound Service and Freedom of Contract in Early Modern England and English America," Sonia Tycko explores the repeated appearance of consent as part of the meaning of compulsory service in the early modern period. … Tycko forces us to reconsider the very foundations of consent and contract and makes a signal contribution to the historiography on contract, labor, and freedom. Tycko also offers nuanced readings of an impressive array of primary sources and reveals the social realities against which a vocabulary about contract arose in particular labor relationships, from indentured servitude to military impressment to kidnapping. She mines documents that others might skim and brings to the surface the way in which the very words betray underlying power dynamics. The important transatlantic lens persuasively establishes her argument as part of larger seventeenth-century English assumptions, in Great Britain and the British colonies. This dissertation rewards the reader on every page-and, impressively, becomes even more interesting on rereading. Tycko's dissertation serves as a model of the well-crafted and carefully executed dissertation in legal history.
–Dan Ernst