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Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

Established in 1980 by Dr. Eric Robinson in memory of his wife, the Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize is awarded annually for the best-presented paper by an individual delivering his or her first paper at the SHOT annual meeting. Candidates for the award are judged on the quality of the historical research and scholarship of the paper, but special attention is paid by the awards committee to the effectiveness of the presentation. The prize consists of a check for a cash award and a certificate.

The eligibility requirements for the Robinson Prize are as follows:

(1) basic eligibility requirements

a. All candidates for the Robinson Prize must be first-time presenters at the Society’s annual meeting.

b. Candidates must be graduate students or recipients of the Ph.D. within the past two years.

c. Welcome to apply are post-docs, visiting assistant professors, independent scholars, and museum and other history professionals. Tenure-track and tenured faculty are not eligible for the prize.

d. Candidates must send the SHOT Secretary an email indicating a desire to be considered for the prize, during the call for papers process. (See below, section 4, “participant cap.”)

(2) paper submission requirement

a. Robinson candidates will be required to submit drafts of their papers to the Chair of the Robinson Prize Committee and to the SHOT Secretary no less than one month ahead of the annual meeting.

b. Robinson Prize Committee members will not read these papers before the meeting, but will instead use them to verify that a paper has been produced and submitted.

c. Those who do not submit their papers by this deadline will not be considered for the Robinson Prize.

(3) honorable mentions

Effective 2014, the Robinson Prize Committee will have the option of naming not only an official prize winner, but also one of more honorable mentions. Those earning honorable mentions will be noted in the following year’s awards booklet alongside the citation for the Robinson Prize winner.

(4) participant cap

Effective 2016, the Robinson Prize Committee will cap the total number of candidates for the prize at 30, administered on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that if you are an eligible first-time presenter and you wish to be considered for the Robinson Prize, you must send the SHOT Secretary an email at the time you submit your proposal during the call for papers process. The Secretary will keep a list of candidates, and the first 30 to contact him will be eligible for the prize, while any others will be added to a waiting list (if any of the first 30 papers are not accepted for the conference, those on the waiting list will be bumped up accordingly). This new rule took effect in 2016 for the Singapore meeting.

Update April 6, 2017: For the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia  more then 30 submitters indicated that they wanted to be considered for the Robinson Prize. This means that already submitters had to be put on the waiting list for the Robinson Prize, this will also be the case for new submitters.

Eligible presenters are encouraged to nominate themselves for the Robinson Prize. You may indicate your desire to be a candidate for the Robinson Prize by ticking the appropriate box in the online submission form for an individual paper or full session. But please note (above, point 4, participant cap) that you must also contact the secretary separately during the call for papers process.

As first-time presenters, Robinson Prize candidates may benefit especially from Paul Edwards’s “How To Give A Talk: Better Academic Speaking in a Nutshell” (PDF) or these observations from Jonathan Shewchuk.

2017 Robinson Prize Committee

Ksenia Tatarchenko, Chair (2016–2017)
New York University
[email protected]
Fallon Samuels Aidoo (2017–2018)
Northeastern University
[email protected]
Julie Cohn (2017–2018)
University of Houston
[email protected]
Seung-Joon Lee (2016–2017)
National University of Singapore
[email protected]
David Lucsko (2017–2018)
Auburn University
[email protected]
Joris Mercelis (2016–2017)
Johns Hopkins University
[email protected]
Lisa Onaga (2016–2017)
Nanyang Technological University
[email protected]
Tiago Saraiva (2016–2017)
Drexel University
[email protected]
Sean Seyer (2017–2018)
University of Kansas
[email protected]

Recipients of the Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize

2015 Sarah McLennan (College of William and Mary), “Computing and the Color Line: Race, Gender, and Opportunity in Early Computing at NASA”
2014 Saara Matala (Aalto University), “The Technopolitics of Cold War Shipbuilding: Nuclear Ice Breakers in Finnish-Soviet Eastern Trade, 1984-1990”
2013 Meghan Crnic (University of Pennsylvania), “Children in the Sun? UV Lamps as Technology of Nature, 1900-1930”
2012 Rachel Rothschild (Yale University), “Détente from the Air: Monitoring Pollution and European Integration in the Cold War”
2011 Whitney E. Laemmli (University of Pennsylvania), “A Case in Pointe: Making Streamlined Bodies and Interchangeable Ballerinas at the New York City Ballet,”
Aditi Raghavan (Northwestern University), “‘The
Theodolite Coolie’ and Other British Mapping Devices”
Madhumita Saha (Iowa State University), “The State of India, Postcolonial Agricultural Policy and Pre-Green Revolution Wheat Technology”
Matthew Hersch, “High Fashion: The Women’s Undergarment Industry and the Foundations of American Spaceflight”
Kara Swanson, “Human Milk as Technology and Technologies of Human Milk: Milk Banks in the 20th-Century United States”
Anna Storm (KTH), “Interpretation Processes in Re-used Industrial Areas”
Peter A. Shulman (MIT), “Alaska: Infinite Coal Mine of the Imperial Imagination.”
Jamie Pietruska (MIT), “Every man his own weather clerk: Weather Information Systems, Local Communications Technologies, and a National Weather Service for Agriculture, 1870-1891.”
Matthew Harpster (Texas A&M University), “New rules for old boats: Proportional rules in early-medieval ship design.”
Hyungsub Choi (Johns Hopkins University), “Rationalizing the ‘Guerilla State’: North Korean Factory Management Reform in the 1960s”
Lara Freidenfelds (Harvard University), “Technology and the Production of Gendered and Classed Subjects: Tampons in the Twentieth Century United States”
Devorah Slavin, “‘Housekeeperly Instincts’: 19th Century Women Inventors and the Myth of the Ingenious Woman”
Greg Downey, “Human Labor and Human Geography in the Study of Information Internetworks”
Nina Wormbs, “A New Technology to Save Old Values: The Nordic Direct Broadcasting Satellite”
Thomas Kaiserfeld, “Mining, Manure and the Military: The Science of Saltpeter and Gunpowder”
Killian Anheuser, “Fire-Guilding–Technology of an Ancient Craft”
Barbara L. Allen, “Oil and Water: An Environmental and Cultural History of the Petrochemical Industry in Louisiana”
Greg Clancey, “The Balloon Frame Revisited: Mechanization, Mass Production, and Prefabrication in American Building-Carpentry”
Regina Blaszczyk, “Reign of Robots: The Homer Laughlin China Company and Flexible Mass Production, 1916-1948”
Molly Berger, “Leaving the Light On: The Modern Hotel in America”
Brett Steele, “A Pioneering Engineer: Benjamin Robins and Eighteenth Century Ballistics”
Meg Sondey, “An Initial Investigation of Welded Homes in the United States”
Arwen Mohun, “Women Workers and the Mechanization of Steam Laundries”
Raman Srinivasan, “Technology Sits Cross-Legged: The History of the Jaipur Foot”
Diane Q. Webb, “Two Paths to Building National Science and Technology Capabilities: South Korea and Brazil, 1960-1985”
James H. Capshew, “Engineering a Technology of Behavior: B.F. Skinner’s Kamikaze Pigeons in World War II”
not presented
Susan Smulyan, “The Rise and Fall of the Happiness Boys: Sponsorship, Technology, and Early Radio Programming”
Larry Owens, “Vannevar Bush and the Differential Analyzer: The Text and Academic Context of an Early Computer”
Mona Spangler Phillips, “Geometry in Gothic Design”
Christopher Hamlin, “Recycling as a Goal of Sewage Treatment in 19th Century Britain”
J. Lauritz Larson, “Inventing Technological Systems: A Railway Example”