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Cambridge author wins coveted Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize

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Cambridge University Press author Ben Griffin has been named winner of the prestigious Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize for his book, The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain – Masculinity, Political Culture and the Struggle for Women’s Rights.

The announcement was made on July 10 at the Society’s annual reception in London. This is the fourth successive year the Whitfield Prize has been won by a Cambridge University Press author and the sixth occasion in the past ten years.

The Royal Historical Society was founded in 1868 and remains the foremost society in Great Britain promoting and defending the scholarly study of the past. It awards a number of prizes each year to recognize outstanding historical scholarship and achievement and offers the Whitfield prize for a new book on British or Irish history. To be eligible the book must have been published in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland during the calendar year. It must also be its author's first solely written book and be an original and scholarly work of historical research.

This year’s judges said: ‘Ben Griffin’s beautifully clear and crystalline monograph makes an important contribution both to Victorian political history and to gender studies. He argues that the fortunes of the women’s movement in parliament can only properly be understood by considering the notions of masculinity articulated by the legislators themselves. By showing the degree to which individual allegiances often shifted, he shows the inappropriateness of simplistic pro-suffrage/anti-suffrage, pro-feminist/anti-feminist categories. The book combines statistical data with some wonderfully executed individual vignettes revealing some very curious species of anxious masculinities. It moves deftly between politics, gender studies, social history, and the history of the law.’

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