Sunday, October 21, 2007

I just won a prize (outside of archaeology)

Just after I posted my previous entry on publishing outside of archaeology, I learned that my paper in the Journal of Planning History was awarded a prize! It is the Catherine Bauer Wurster Prize for the “Best Scholarly Article on American Planning History,” awarded annually by the Society for American City and Regional Planning History. This was a very pleasant surprise, since until very recently I was not even aware of the existence of that society or the prize. A reader of the article suggested I submit it for the prize, which I did. So I guess publishing archaeology outside of archaeology has rewards beyond the strictly intellectual benefits of making archaeological scholarship known to a wider audience.

I am impressed by the broad perspective of the Society in considering my paper a contribution to "American planning history." This association sounds reasonable to an anthropological archaeologist, but all too often scholars in other disciplines take a very narrow view of domains like "American." So I salute the Society for American City and Regional Planning History not only for giving me an award, but also for taking a broad conception of comparative urban scholarship. This is very heartening news for those of us who want archaeological to have a place at the table of comparative research on cities and urbanization, and it shows that the deplorable trend of "recentism" (see my previous post) does not affect all urban disciplines.

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