History Professor Selected as 2016 Boucher Prize Winner

When history assistant professor Julia Gaffield won the 2016 Boucher Prize for her book, Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World: Recognition after Revolution (UNC 2015), it was a surreal experience.

“The French Colonial Historical Society conference happens annually and this year’s conference was held at the University of Ottawa in Canada. I presented at the conference and Ottawa is my hometown,” Gaffield said. “It was a neat kind of merging of the worlds since it was where I grew up and is now my academic world so that was really nice.”

The Boucher Prize is awarded annually at the French Colonial Historical Society’s annual meeting. The award recognizes the best book dealing with the French colonial experience from 1500 to 1815.

Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World is a ground-breaking work that deals with the relations between Haiti and the outside world during the years immediately following the Haitian Declaration of Independence,” said chair of the 2016 Boucher Committee Jean-François Brière. “Scholars have generally acknowledged that Haiti was treated as a threat to the security of slaveholding societies and isolated by European powers and the United States. Julia Gaffield has written a book which persuasively challenges that assertion.”

Throughout the book Gaffield counters the belief that Haiti was isolated from the outside world after declaring its independence, proving that foreign leaders were open to negotiating with Haitian leaders following the Haiti revolution, specifically in areas of warfare and economic advancement.

“I hope readers gain an understanding that Haiti’s history is really complicated and it’s connected to our own history to the histories of other places in what we call the Atlantic world.”

Gaffield is currently in the beginning stages of her second book, which pursues questions of sovereignty and recognition in the Atlantic World by situating economic, legal and diplomatic perspectives in the context of the changing role of the Catholic Church during the Age of Revolution.

To purchase Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World, click here.

Follow Gaffield on twitter today, @juliagaffield!