Congratulations to Susan Murray: 2019 IAMHIST-Michael Nelson Book Prize winner

We are delighted to announce that the winner of this year’s IAMHIST-Michael Nelson Book Prize is Bright Signals: A History of Color Television by Susan Murray (Duke University Press, 2018).  Meticulously researched, engagingly written, and well-illustrated, the volume presents a detailed – but always accessible – account of the intertwined processes of social, cultural and technological change. In this volume, Dr. Murray makes an important contribution to media historiography, and our understanding of the complexities of technological transformation.  Susan Murray is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, the author of Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars: Early Television and Broadcast Stardom (Routledge, 2005), and the coeditor of Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture (NYU Press, 2008).



The IAMHIST-MICHAEL NELSON PRIZE FOR A WORK IN MEDIA AND HISTORY is a biennial prize awarded for the book, radio or television program or series, film, DVD, CD-ROM, or URL making the best contribution on the subject of media and history, which has been published or shown in the preceding two years.

The prize is dedicated to Michael Nelson, whose passion for media and journalism inspired IAMHIST throughout the years.  For more information on Michael Nelson, please consult:

Two awards will be made.  The first, a prize of $1000, will be for the best contribution by a book; the second, a prize of $1000 will be for the best contribution by a (multi) media contribution.  This second prize will consider media such as films, CD-ROMs, and URLs separately from print media, in the hope of encouraging the submission of scholarly work in non-print media.

Submissions for the 2019 IAMHIST Prize for a Work in Media and History should reach the committee before September 30, 2018. The prize will be awarded for a publication and (multi) media contribution on the subject of media and history published or shown between September 2016 – September 2018.

The prize was awarded for the first time in 2007, at the XXII IAMHIST conference in Amsterdam. The winner was Wendy Webster (University of Central Lancashire), for her book Englishness and Empire, 1939-1965 (Oxford University Press, 2005).  Thanks to an especially strong field of entries, two winners were chosen in 2009: Reconstructing American Historical Cinema from ‘Cimmaron’ to ‘Citizen Kane’ (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2009) by J. E. Smyth (University of Warwick, and Voices in Ruins: West German Radio across the 1945 Divide (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) by Alexander Badenoch (Technical University of Eindhoven). Both works were cited by the prize committee as making outstanding contributions to the field, based on excellence of research, originality, accessibility, and scholarly usefulness.  In 2011, the prize was awarded to It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on 1950s Television (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2009), by Christine Becker (University of Notre Dame).  In 2013, the first year of the multi-media prize, the recipients were: J. Edgar Hoover goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood’s Cold War (New York: Cornell University Press, 2012) by James Sbardellati, and The Media History Digital Library ( In 2015, the recipients were How It Feels to Be Free: Black Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), by Ruth Feldstein (Rutgers University), and Brave Little Belgium, produced by VRT. In 2017, the sole recipient was Shelley Stamp’s (University of California, Santa Cruz) Lois Weber in Early Hollywood (California: University of California Press, 2015).

Rules of the IAMHIST prize:

  1. The prize is awarded biennially.
  2. Invitations for submissions and names of the winners will be published in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, on the IAMHIST website, on flyers, displayed in the universities of teaching members of IAMHIST, and by letters to appropriate bodies.
  3. The prize will be awarded for the book, radio or television program or series, film, DVD, CD-ROM, or URL making the best contribution on the subject of media and history to have been published or shown in the preceding two years (which, for the 2019 prize, will be from September 2016 – September 2018).
  4. Three copies of the work must be submitted to the IAMHIST prize sub-committee chair by 30 September of the year preceding the award (in this case, September 30, 2018).
  5. The submitted work must be in the form of printed text, audio tape, VHS cassette, DVD or CD-ROM. It must be accompanied by back-up material, as appropriate, such as scripts and shot lists.
  6. Works which are not in English must be accompanied by an English translation or an English synopsis.
  7. The winner will be selected by a sub-committee of the Council of IAMHIST, under the chairmanship of IAMHIST Treasurer, Cynthia Miller.

Submissions should be sent to:  Professor Cynthia J. Miller 484 Bolivar St. Canton, MA  02021 USA. Email:



IAMHIST has the pleasure to announce that Shelley Stamp is the winner of the 2017 Michael Nelson Prize. She convinced the jury with Lois Weber in Early Hollywood.

Shelley Stamp is Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon; co-editor of American Cinema’s Transitional Era: Audiences, Institutions, Practices; and founding editor of Feminist Media Histories: An International Journal.

Among early Hollywood’s most renowned filmmakers, Lois Weber was considered one of the era’s “three great minds” alongside D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. Despite her accomplishments, Weber has been marginalized in relation to her contemporaries, who have long been recognized as fathers of American cinema. Drawing on a range of materials untapped by previous historians, Shelley Stamp offers the first comprehensive study of Weber’s remarkable career as director, screenwriter, and actress. Lois Weber in Early Hollywood provides compelling evidence of the extraordinary role that women played in shaping American movie culture.

Weber made films on capital punishment, contraception, poverty, and addiction, establishing cinema’s power to engage topical issues for popular audiences. Her work grappled with the profound changes in women’s lives that unsettled Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century, and her later films include sharp critiques of heterosexual marriage and consumer capitalism. Mentor to many women in the industry, Weber demanded a place at the table in early professional guilds, decrying the limited roles available for women on-screen and in the 1920s protesting the growing climate of hostility toward female directors. Stamp demonstrates how female filmmakers who had played a part in early Hollywood’s bid for respectability were in the end written out of that industry’s history. Lois Weber in Early Hollywood is an essential addition to histories of silent cinema, early filmmaking in Los Angeles, and women’s contributions to American culture.

You can view Shelley’s piece on Lois Weber’s Shoes (1916) published in the IAMHIST Blog here.

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