BLOOMINGTON, IN—During its annual meeting in Sacramento, California, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) presented Kelly Lytle Hernández, University of California, Los Angeles, with their prestigious 2018 James A. Rawley Prize, which is given annually for the best book dealing with the history of race relations in the United States.
James A. Rawley Prize
Kelly Lytle Hernández, University of California, Los Angeles. Groundbreaking in both its breadth and depth, Kelly Lytle Hernández’s bold and compelling book, City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965 (University of North Carolina Press), places contemporary issues of mass incarceration and mass deportation within a much broader historical context. Undeterred by systemic primary-source constraints, Hernández has marshaled ample archival evidence to establish that Los Angeles—“a hub of incarceration” that imprisons more people than any other city in the country that imprisons the most people in the world—has been the site of various manifestations of human caging inextricably bound to conquest, settler colonialism, institutional racism, and structural assaults on the working poor, irrespective of race or ethnicity. From the eighteenth-century incarceration of Indigenous communities in the Tongva Basin, to the nineteenth-century detention and imprisonment of Chinese immigrants, to the rise of racist mass incarceration during the twentieth century, City of Inmates demonstrates how the carceral state has developed over time. As significant, the book draws upon what Hernández has termed the “rebel archive” to underscore the existence of ongoing resistance to such incarceration in Los Angeles, resistance that has taken many forms.
The prize was presented on April 13 by OAH’s 2017–18 President Edward L. Ayers and 2018–19 President Earl Lewis.
For more information, visit www.oah.org or call 812.855.7311.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN HISTORIANS
Founded in 1907, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship. With more than 7,500 members from the U.S. and abroad, OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, encouraging wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of history practitioners. It publishes the quarterly Journal of American History, the leading scholarly publication and journal of record in the field of American history for more than a century. It also publishes The American Historian magazine. Formerly known as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (MVHA), the association became the OAH in 1965 to reflect a broader scope focusing on national studies of American history. The OAH national headquarters are located in the historic Raintree House on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus.