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Charles Debenedetti Memorial Prize

Best Article published in Peace History in 2013-14
Awarded October 2015

Since 1987-88, the Peace History Society has awarded the Charles DeBenedetti Prize biannually (in even years). Articles may focus on the history of peace movements, the response of individuals to peace and war issues, the relationship between peace and other reform movements, gender issues in warfare and peacemaking, comparative analyses, and quantitative studies. This year, the Prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding English-language journal article, book chapter, or introduction on peace history published in 2013 or 2014. The prize carries a cash award of $500. The Debenedetti Committee included Mona Siegel (chair and most recent recipient of the prize: California State University, Sacramento), Erika Kuhlman (recent Peace & Change editor, Idaho State University), and Andrew Barbero (University of Southern Indiana).  42 publications were reviewed.

For the best article published in 2013 or 2014, the DeBenedetti Committee awards the prize to Rachel Waltner Goossen for her article: "Disarming the Toy Store and Reloading the Shopping Cart: Resistance to Violent Consumer Culture," Peace & Change 38, 3 (July 2013): 330-354.  Rachel Waltner Goossen's scholarship on how North American antiwar organizations resisted war through the dis-arming of toys and toy stores bridges many important historiographical fields including peace history, women’s history, the history of consumption, the history of childhood, and cultural studies.  It is a well-written, engaging look at history “from the bottom up,” which will undoubtedly appeal to a wide audience, including students raised on some of the violent toys and gaming software under discussion in the article.  Goossen highlights the evolving strategies of peace activists concerned with violent and war toys, from the moral arguments that dominated early-twentieth-century crusades to the health and safety campaigns of recent years.  Without underplaying the clout and malleability of toy manufacturers, Goossen nonetheless highlights the tenacity and creativity of a broad coalition of peace activists who effectively countered, and sometimes even curbed, the power of the market with their consumer-activism.

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