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Gearóid BarryScott Bills Memorial Prize
First Book / Dissertation in Peace History Published in 2012-13
Awarded October 2015

The Peace History Society awards the Scott Bills Memorial Prize bi-annually (in odd years) for an outstanding English-language work in the field of Peace History. This year, the Prize is awarded for an outstanding first book or an outstanding dissertation by a faculty member or independent scholar completed in 2012 or 2013. The Prize carries a cash award of $500.  The Bills Committee included Scott H. Bennett (chair; Georgian Court University), Deborah Buffton (University of Wisconsin—Lacrosse), and Michael Clinton (Gwynedd Mercy University).

The Peace History Society awards the Scott Bills Memorial Prize bi-annually (in odd years) for an outstanding English-language work in the field of Peace History. This year, the Prize is awarded for an outstanding first book or an outstanding dissertation by a faculty member or independent scholar completed in 2012 or 2013. The Prize carries a cash award of $500. The Bills Committee included Scott H. Bennett (chair; Georgian Court University), Deborah Buffton (University of Wisconsin—Lacrosse), and Michael Clinton (Gwynedd Mercy University).

For the best first book published or dissertation completed in English during 2012-13, the Bills Committee awards the Bills' Memorial Prize to Dr. Gearóid Barry for his book, The Disarmament of Hatred: Marc Sangnier, French Catholicism and the Legacy of the First World War, 1914-45 (Palgrave Macmillan; 2012). Dr. Barry is a Lecturer in Modern European History at the National University of Ireland--Galway. His research interests include the First World War and transnational pacifist and religious networks.

In The Disarmament of Hatred, Gearóid Barry examines Marc Sangnier, a French Catholic politician and peace activist within a transnational context. An advocate of Franco-German reconciliation after the First World War, Sangnier championed transnational peace activism and cultural demobilization (or, in Sangnier’s phrase, a “disarmament of hatred”) during the interwar era. Working through Democratic International, a transnational network, Sangnier organized 12 Peace Congresses between 1921 and 1932. The author provides a thorough analysis of these Congresses, which were devoted to education, reparations, disarmament, youth, and conscientious objection. Beyond the interwar period, Barry argues that Sangnier was a pioneer in the Christian Democratic movement that laid the foundations for European unification after 1950.

The committee was particularly impressed by Dr. Barry’s transnational approach and wide-ranging research. Framing his well-written and effectively organized study as a transnational study in pacifist and Catholic history and addressing biography, peace activism, and Christian social democracy, he conducted extensive research in French, British, Italian, and Vatican archives.The author engages the work of other historians and contributes to an emerging historiography that casts the interwar period as a time of opportunities and initiatives towards advancing the causes of peace, democracy, and internationalism rather than an inevitable slide towards war. The Committee is pleased to note that Dr. Gearóid Barry is the first recipient of the Scott Bills Memorial Prize who is not a U.S. citizen and the first recipient to write on a topic outside U.S. history.

--Submitted by Scott H. Bennett, for the Scott Bills Memorial Prize Committee (Scott H. Bennett, Deborah Buffton, and Michael Clinton), September 2015.

Watch video of Dr. Gearóid Barry's comments

23 Oct. 15

FAO Prof Kevin Callahan, President, Peace History Society & Prof Scott Bennett, Chair, Scott Bills Memorial Prize Committee AND PHS Conference, Oct. 2015, Connecticut.

Dear Professor Callahan, Dear Professor Bennett,

Though we have communicated on this by email several times since July 2015, I just wished to place on record, properly, by means of this letter, my thanks and delight in accepting the Scott Bills Memorial Prize awarded by the PHS for my book The Disarmament of Hatred (2012). I am delighted to say that here at my university in NUI Galway, our visiting speaker Prof. Micheal Clinton acted on your behalf on Wed. afternoon, 21 October last, and presented me with the Certificate and monetary prize in front of my colleagues, our grad students and some personal friends – about 30 people- at the Hardiman Research Building in our university. It was a simple but lovely occasion with Mike reading the citation from the PHS, adding some personal remarks, followed by my short but heartfelt response.

In summary, I said, and I repeat here for you, that I am honoured and humbled to accept a prize named after Scott Bills, who was both a fine scholar and a fine man. I have learnt more about Scott Bills in recent times, not least from the memorial article published by the AHA. It is evident that Scott combined a commitment to rigorous scholarship, in diplomatic and peace history, with community-mindedness and a strong ethical commitment. I know that the Peace History Society continues to uphold this commitment to serving the scholarly and general community.

As I said here in Galway, for all the lonely furrow research can be at times, it remains a privilege to engage in a conversation with the sources and fellow scholars across the miles and across the years. I accept the award gratefully as valediction of The Disarmament of Hatred’s place in the scholarship of peace and war but also as refreshment in my continuing research activities. I also hope that, at some future date, I may be able to attend your annual conference as a contributor. Being the first non-US citizen to receive the Prize, I trust that in some small way this also contributes to the PHS’s already fine international profile.

Looking forward to corresponding with you and your members again on more routine matters of research queries, I wish you all the best for your present conference in West Hartford,

Yours sincerely,

Gearóid Barry,
Department of History
NUI Galway, Ireland

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