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Charles Debenedetti Memorial Prize

Best Article published in Peace History in 2017-18
Awarded October 2019

The Charles DeBenedetti Prize is presented biannually to the best English-language journal article, book chapter, or introduction written on the subject of peace history. This year, the Peace History Society awards the 2017-2018 Prize to Barbara Keys for her article “The Telephone and Its Uses in 1980s U.S. Activism,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 48, no. 4 (Spring 2018): 485-509. Keys’s study of the telephone’s importance in fostering relationships and bolstering community within the 1980s Central America Movement, organized against U.S. intervention in Latin American civil wars, is a truly unique piece of scholarship, one that pushes peace history into new territory, broadening the field beyond the coverage of flagship events and actions to explore the quotidian of day-to-day organizing as it existed on the ground. In doing so, Keys employs an innovative methodology that not only ties together social history and the history of technology, but just as significantly documents the history of emotion as mediated through a particular mode of technology. More than just an organizing tool to get out the vote or coordinate protests, activists used the aural and haptic potentials of the telephone to build feelings of intimacy and trust across the movement. Ably complimenting her archival research with oral histories and findings from psychology, sociology, and biology, Keys showcases a new approach to the writing of peace history that future scholars will build on and take in new and exciting directions.

In addition to presenting Keys with the Charles DeBenedetti Prize, the Peace History Society would like to extend an honorable mention to Marian Mollin for her article “The Solidarity of Suffering: Gender, Cross-Cultural Contact, and the Foreign Mission Work of Sister Ita Ford,” Peace & Change 42, no. 2 (April 2017): 232-252.
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