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Northwestern University

Three History Professors Score Prominent Awards

The recipients include Professor Yohanan Petrovksy-Shtern, who received the Jewish Book Council’s 2014 National Jewish Book Award in History

Three professors in Weinberg College’s Department of History – Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Helen Tilley and Amy Stanley – have each scored prestigious honors from national organizations dedicated to scholarship and research.

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

The Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies, Petrovsky-Shtern has received the Jewish Book Council’s 2014 National Jewish Book Award in History for his recent release, The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe, a project the New York Times Book Review called “[a] moving feat of cultural reclamation and even, in its way, an act of quiet heroism.”

The annual National Jewish Book Awards recognize the best books in Jewish studies. In capturing the honor, Petrovsky-Shtern joins a list of past award winners that includes literary luminaries such as Bernard Malamud and Elie Wiesel. Petrovsky-Shtern will receive his award in March during the 64th Annual National Jewish Book Awards ceremony in New York City.

The Golden Age of Shtetl also received an “honorable mention” in the category of European and World History from the American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence’s annual PROSE Awards, which honor the year’s top professional and scholarly publishing.

Petrovsky-Shtern, who teaches a variety of undergraduate and advanced-level courses covering various aspects of Jewish history, is currently working on a documentary history of the Jews in the early modern world, 1450-1750.

Helen Tilley

The National Science Foundation, which accounts for about 20 percent of federal support to academic institutions’ research, awarded Tilley its prestigious Scholar’s Award Grant, which will allow Tilley to continue her research into indigenous knowledge and medical practice in Africa during decolonization.

As the grant’s principal investigator, Tilley will explore the ways in which traditional African medicine shifted from the relative periphery to the center of international health concerns during the 20th century by securing insights from African scientists, politicians, leaders, institutions and umbrella organizations such as the World Health Organization.

It’s been a triumphant academic year for Tilley, an associate professor and Fulbright Fellow whose research investigates medical, environmental and human sciences in colonial and post-colonial Africa. Last fall, she captured the Ludwik Fleck Prize from the Society for the Social Studies of Science for her book, Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950.

Amy Stanley

Stanley, an associate professor, earned a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her project, “Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her Worlds, 1821-1862.”

Among the nation’s most competitive fellowship programs, funding only about 7 percent of the more than 1,200 applications that pour in during the average year, NEH fellowships support individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars as well as general audiences, often resulting in articles, books, monographs or other scholarly resources.

A past recipient of the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanley’s research work focuses on the history of early modern and modern Japan and, specifically, how the nation’s common folk contributed to Japan’s economic, political and social transformation in the mid-1800s. She teaches courses at the College on pre-20th century Japan as well as various seminars exploring gender history, Asian history and archival research.

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