American Council of Learned Societies Announces 2024 ACLS Open Access Book Prize and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Award Winners

Inaugural $50,000 Prize Awards and Expands Open Access Book Publishing in the Humanities

NEW YORK, May 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards. Supported by Arcadia, these prizes recognize and reward the authors and publishers of exceptional, innovative, and open access humanities books published from 2017 to 2022.

These prizes recognize and reward the authors and publishers of exceptional, innovative, open access humanities books.

History: Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London by Simon P. Newman (University of London Press, 2022)

Multimodal: As I Remember It: Teachings (ʔəms tɑʔɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder by Elsie Paul with Davis McKenzie, Paige Raibmon, and Harmony Johnson (University of British Columbia Press / RavenSpace, 2019)

Each prize winner was selected by a distinguished panel of judges from a shortlist of five finalists. The winning authors receive a cash award of $20,000, and the winning publishers receive a grant for $30,000 to support the immediate open access publication of at least two new books. The prizes, among the largest for scholarly books, were announced today at the ACLS Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

“ACLS is proud to award these outstanding authors and publishers, whose commitment to open access is helping transform the way scholarly insights reach people inside and outside the academy,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “Their books freely provide communities worldwide with accurate research on topics that have been historically and often intentionally held at the margins of academic inquiry. We look forward to continuing our work with Arcadia to cultivate an ecosystem in which humanistic publications thrive in a larger circle of readers.”

For more than 100 years ACLS has supported the creation and circulation of knowledge that advances our understanding of humanity and human endeavors. Amplifying humanistic scholarship through initiatives such as the ACLS Open Access Books Prizes helps cultivate a twenty-first-century ecosystem in which humanistic publications can thrive.

Submissions for the 2025 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards will open in May 2024. Sign up to stay updated on the prize and be notified when the competition opens.

About the American Council of Learned Societies

Formed a century ago, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 80 scholarly organizations. As the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, ACLS upholds the core principle that knowledge is a public good. In supporting its member organizations, ACLS utilizes its endowment and $37 million annual operating budget to expand the forms, content, and flow of scholarly knowledge, reflecting our commitment to diversity of identity and experience. ACLS collaborates with institutions, associations, and individuals to strengthen the evolving infrastructure for scholarship. In all aspects of our work, ACLS is committed to principles and practices in support of racial and social justice.

About Arcadia

Arcadia is a charitable foundation that works to protect nature, preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge. Since 2002 Arcadia has awarded more than $1.2 billion to organizations around the world.

Supplemental quotes from judges:

History Judges

Freedom Seekers is a deeply researched, well-argued, and effectively presented look into a hidden world within seventeenth-century London, that of slaves in the imperial capital. It offers a new view into slavery’s deeply embedded history in Britain and the Atlantic world, and challenges the field to tackle important and challenging topics that still resonate in the modern world.”

Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London is a journey of a book. As a reader, I found myself deeply immersed—Newman’s writing is highly engaging and will likely bring a completely new understanding of British history. The stories of featured freedom-seekers will stick with me forever. A must-read for just about any audience.”

Multimodal Judges

As I Remember It is compelling because it looks both to the future and the past. The intellectual contributions are massive: preserving a lost language, culture, and folkways. The aspects of what has been lost to colonialism and racism are acknowledged while being clear about what heritage is being preserved. It also allows for persons new to the ideas, language, and culture to experience it in ways that approach being authentic, not mediated by other groups of institutions.”

“The initial protocol for being a respectful guest [provided upon entry to As I Remember It] forecasts the centrality of community control in this amazing archive. The team that constructed this digital monograph have centered the community while providing a broad and deep intervention into how we understand knowledge.”

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SOURCE American Council of Learned Societies


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