Rachel Carson Prize For Best Dissertation

Former Bristol History PhD Student Milica Prokic has been awarded the prestigious Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation (2017). The prize is awarded annually by the American Society for Environmental History.  This is the first time in the 25-year history of the award that it has been given to someone studying at a university outside North America, the first time that it has been given to someone who wrote it in English as a second language, and only the third time it has been awarded for a topic in European history.

Milica’s dissertation takes a trans-corporeal approach to the history of the former Yugoslav political prison camp ‘Barren Island’ (Goli otok), from the Cominform Period (1949-1956) to the present day.

On receiving the prize Milica said: ‘This is truly a great honour, and a very important thing for the research of the Goli otok political prisoners’ story. For a complex set of reasons, their story has been under-researched, and their voices silenced for decades. The Rachel Carson Award for my thesis contributes greatly to the visibility of this important story, and is a great drive both to continue and publish my research.’

Milica’s supervisor Professor Peter Coates expressed his delight at the award: 'I often ignore the phone when it rings. But I'm glad I picked up when Milica called out of the blue a few years ago. She'd read about our Militarized Landscapes project, and wanted to talk about her project about a small, rocky, sun-scorched island in the Adriatic where brutal things had been done to political prisoners. Four or so years later, I brought this prize to her attention and insisted she submit her thesis because I had a strange, but strong, feeling that she could win it.’

Gregory Rosenthal, ’15

Gregory Rosenthal, who earned his PhD in History from Stony Brook University in 2015, has been awarded the Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation from the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH).

As noted by the Rachel Carson Prize committee, Rosenthal’s dissertation, “Hawaiians who Left Hawai’i: Work, Body, and Environment in the Pacific World, 1786-1876,” is a “very compelling narrative, which brings a new insight into the meanings of circulation and the making of economies and environments. It excels across the categories used in our evaluation: writing, research and documentation, analysis, and contribution to the field.”

Rosenthal is an assistant professor of public history at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. His winning dissertation is a history of Native Hawaiian migrant labor in the 19th-century trans-Pacific economy. He has published in Environmental History, World History Bulletin, Perspectives on History, and Solutions, and is the recipient of awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Historical Association, the Huntington Library, the Bancroft Library, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

While at Stony Brook, Rosenthal worked under the direction of History Professor Chris Sellers, with other History Professors Jared Farmer and Iona Man-Cheong also serving as advisors. “I’m so proud of this recognition of Gregory’s work,” notes Sellers, “as it really does epitomize the best our field has to offer.”

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