Three junior faculty members receive Heyman Prize awards
Rohit De, Marcela Echeverri, and Greta LaFleur were recently awarded the 2019 Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research.
The prize is given to junior faculty members in the humanities.
Rohit De, associate professor of history, received the prize for “A People’s Constitution: Law and Everyday Life in the Indian Republic.” The book draws on previously unexplored historical records to advance a new history of the Indian Constitution of 1950. It overturns the long-held contention that the Indian constitution, created by the elite, had little impact on the day-to-day life of many Indians. Instead, De tells the stories of how people from society’s margins — including smugglers, sex workers, drinkers, and others — played a fundamental role in shaping the Indian Constitution and transforming social and political life.
Marcela Echeverri, associate professor of history, was cited for “Indian and Slave Royalists in the Age of Revolution: Reform, Revolution, and Royalism in the Northern Andes, 1780-1825.” Echeverri’s book reveals the common threads that connected the political strategies of black and indigenous groups in Popayán (modern-day Colombia). It challenges conventional understandings of the relationship between subordinated people and imperial rulers. The book advances a new perspective on the experiences of Royalist Indians and slaves, bringing to light a previously untold history of their interaction and collaboration, and re-conceptualizing the Northern Andes’s transition from colony to republic.
Greta LaFleur, associate professor of American studies, was recognized for “The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America.” Her book shows how people in the 18th-century American colonies — a period predating contemporary understandings of sexuality — made sense of sex. It also explains how the study of the environment and organic life informed understandings of human sexuality. Through an examination of archival sources from the field of natural history, LaFleur demonstrates that sexuality was understood in the same interpretive frame as emergent ideas of race in the expansion of European colonialism.