CAS Book & Dissertation Prizes

The Center for Austrian Studies awards a Book Prize and a Dissertation Prize, thanks to a generous donation from David and Rosemary Good.

CAS facilitates the biennial competitions to encourage North American doctoral candidates and scholars in the full range of academic disciplines to do research in the field of Austrian and Habsburg studies.

To be eligible for the CAS prize competitions, a book must have been published (or a dissertation defended) within the previous two years. Authors must be citizens or legal residents (holders of “green cards”) of the United States or Canada. Eligible works may be from any discipline in the humanities, social sciences, or fine arts. The subject matter may deal with contemporary Austria, contemporary Austria’s relationship with Central Europe and the European Union, or the history, society, and culture of Austria and the lands of Central and Eastern Europe with a common Habsburg heritage. The language must be English.

Each prize carries a cash award of $1,500.

The next submission cycle will be due in spring 2018.
Please check back for more details to come!

Multi-authored studies or multi-author collections of essays are not eligible for this competition.

Send 5 copies of each book (or 3 copies of each dissertation) to:

Center for Austrian Studies
University of Minnesota
Attention: CAS Book (or Dissertation) Prize Committee
314 Social Sciences Building

267 19th Avenue S.
Minneapolis MN 55455

Congratulations to the 2016 Dissertation and Book Prize Winners!



WINNER: Timothy Olin, "Expanding Europe: German Borderland Colonization in the Banat of Temesvár, 1716-1847" (Purdue, 2015).

Timothy Olin’s dissertation is a stellar example of breathtaking research and elegant presentation. Using archival materials from four countries (Austria, Romania, Serbia, and Hungary), Olin explores the history of one of the forgotten corners of the Habsburg monarchy. Olin follows the fates of settlers from the Holy Roman Empire who made their homes in the Banat in the eighteenth century. Despite numerous obstacles—the languages required for original research (German, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian); the destruction of documents during the Second World War and other conflicts—Olin unearthed enough accessible sources to reconstruct a plausible “biography” of a settlement in southeastern Europe that became defined as “German,” despite origins that expose the meaninglessness of such a putatively national description. “German,” in Olin’s words little more than a “catchall for the European colonists recruited [by the Habsburg administration] to settle in the Banat,” became the defining feature of those settlers for two hundred years. Indeed, the concepts of “Germanization” and “Europeanization” were both used as disciplinary terms to describe a putative failure of the Banat to adhere to “Western” standards of the modern. Olin’s marshaling of sources shows how the history of southeastern Europe can be illuminated through a combination of diligence and creativity.

Committee: Alison Frank Johnson, Chair, Hillary Herzog, and Nicole Phelps.



WINNER: James Van Horn Melton, Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier

The title of James Van Horn Melton’s Religion, Community, and Slavery on the Colonial Southern Frontier is perhaps misleadingly modest. Rather than represent an outsider’s encroachment into another field, this book reflects the best combination of expertise of early modern Central European history and engagement with a region of the U.S. with which the author is clearly knowledgeable. In an exceptional feat of archival sleuthing, Van Horn Melton uses microhistory and biography to reconstruct the interplay of local and global forces, marshaling evidence from letters, official records, theological tracts, songs, and not least the documentation of Catholic officials who, wanting to root out heresy, interrogated valley dwellers. The author’s attention to the alpine history of these Austrian emigrants, going back to active counter-reform measures in the prince-bishopric of Salzburg, is not just an extended background, but significantly contributes to a seamless, trans-national study such as is found in some of the best new scholarship in “Atlantic History.” Meticulously and broadly researched and engagingly written, Melton’s study shows in detail how the histories of Europe and North America can and should be viewed together. It is a brilliant contribution to German-American studies, colonial studies, and Austrian studies.

Honorable Mention: Katherine Arens, Vienna’s Dreams of Europe: Culture and Identity beyond the Nation-State

Katherine Arens’s Vienna’s Dreams of Europe: Culture and Identity beyond the Nation-State covers a vast period of Austrian cultural history—from the Enlightenment to the 1990s—that is usually viewed as one long series of disruptions. Arens looks for continuities instead, and in doing so she is able to define and examine a consistent Austrian identity that gets lost if one takes nation-states and nationalism to be norms.

Arens examines Austrian cultural identity without privileging a perspective of the development of German literature and society that has focused on the (German) nation-state. Austrian writers and artists, she shows, have consistently resisted the more typically German belief in drama as a moral institution with writers of genius leading a nation to its destiny. By contrast, Austrians from Sonnenfels to Grillparzer to Nestroy to Hofmannsthal to Schnitzler to the Wiener Gruppe to Handke have grounded their visions in accounts of existing, diverse communities. By grounding her meta-analysis in close and comparative readings of a broad range of texts, Arens creates a solid foundation for the wide-ranging ambitions of her book. Arens’s book is literary history, to be sure, but not in any narrow sense, since it shows how Austrian identity is created through the use of language(s) in public spaces. Hence this study is relevant to broader political, historical, and philosophical questions about what Austria has been and can be.

Committee: Tara Zahra, Chair, Geoffrey Howes, and James Palmitessa

Previous Prize Winners (awarded by Austrian Cultural Forum up to 2010)

Dissertation Prizes

  • 2014: Anita Kurimay, "Sex in the ‘Pearl of the Danube’: The History of Queer Life, Love, and Its Regulation in Budapest, 1873-1941." History, Rutgers University, 2012.
  • 2012: Erin Regina Hoffman, "Staging the Nation, Staging Democracy: The Politics of Commemoration in Germany and Austria, 1918-1933/34" (History, University of Toronto, Canada, 2010)
  • 2010: Nicole Phelps, "Sovereignty, Citizenship, and the New Liberal Order: US—Habsburg Relations and the Transformation of International Politics, 1880-2000" (History, University of MInnesota, 2008)
  • 2008: David W. Gerlach, “For Nation and Gain: Economy, Ethnicity, and Politics in the Czech Borderlands, 1945-1948” (History, University of Pittsburgh, 2007).
  • 2006: Tara Zahra, “Your Child Belongs to the Nation: Nationalism, Germanization, and Democracy in the Bohemian Lands” (History, University of Michigan, 2005).
  • 2004: Philip J. Howe, "Well-Tempered Discontent: Nationalism, Ethnic Group Politics, Electoral Institutions and Parliamentary Behavior in the Western Half of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, 1867-1914" (Political Science, U.C. San Diego).
  • 2002: Alison Fleig Frank, "Austrian El Dorado: A History of the Oil Industry in Galicia, 1853-1923," (History, Harvard University, 2001).
  • 2001: Christa Gaug, "Situating the City: The Textual and Spatial Construction of Late 19th-century Berlin and Vienna in City Texts by Theodor Fontane and Daniel Spitzer," University of Texas at Austin.
  • 2000: Jeremy King, “Loyalty and Polity, Nation and State: A Town in Habsburg Central Europe, 1848–1948, Columbia University.
  • 1999: Julie Johnson, "The Art of Women: Women's Art Exhibitions in Fin-De-Siècle Vienna, University of Chicago.
  • 1998: Cathleen Giustino, "Architecture and the Nation: Modern Urban Design and Possibilities for Political Participation in Czech Prague 1900," Northwestern University.
  • 1996-97: Julie Dorn Morrison, "Gustav Mahler at the Wiener Hofoper: A Study of Critical Reception in the Viennese Press (1897-1907)," Northwestern University.
  • 1995-96: William D. Godsey, "Aristocratic Redoubt: The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office on the Eve of the First World War," University of Virginia.
  • 1994-95: Doris M. Klostermaier, "Marie von Ebner Eschenbach.The Victory of a Tenacious Will," University of Manitoba.
  • 1993-94: Geoffrey D. W. Wawro, "The Austro-Prussian War: Politics, Strategy, and War in the Habsburg Monarchy 1859-1866," Yale University.
  • 1992-93: Christopher Gibbs, "The Presence of Erlönig: Reception and Reworkings of Schubert Lied," Columbia University.
  • 1991-92: Joseph Francis Patrouch III, "Methods of Cultural Manipulation: The Counter-Reformation in the Habsburg Province of Upper Austria, 1570-1650," University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1990-91: William Bowman, "Priest, Parish, and Religious Practice: A Social History of Catholicism in the Archdiocese of Vienna, 1800-1879," Johns Hopkins University.

Book Prizes

  • 2014: Dominique Kirchner Reill, Nationalists Who Feared the Nation (Stanford University Press, 2012)
  • 2012: Paulina Bren, The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism after the1968 Prague Spring (Cornell University Press, 2010)
  • 2010: Tara Zahra, Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands (Cornell University Press, 2008)
  • 2008: Deborah R. Coen, Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private Life (University of Chicago Press, 2007)
  • 2006: Alison Flieg Frank, Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Harvard University Press, 2005)
  • 2004: Gitta Honegger, Thomas Bernhard: The Making of an Austrian (Yale University Press, 2001)
  • 2002: Paula Sutter Fichtner, Emperor Maximilian II (Yale University Press, 2001)
  • 2001: Dr. Evan Burr Bukey, Hitler's Austria: Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era, 1938-45 (University of North Carolina Press, 2000)
  • 2000: Dr. Eve Blau, The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934 (MIT Press, 1999)
  • 1999: Louis Rose, The Freudian Calling: Early Viennese Psychoanalysis and the Pursuit of Cultural Science (Wayne State University Press, 1998)
  • 1998: Pieter Judson, Exclusive Revolutionaries: Liberal Politics, Social Experience, and National Identity in the Austrian Empire, 1848-1918 (University of Michigan Press, 1996)
  • 1996-97: Robert Rotenberg, Landscape and Power in Vienna (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995)
  • 1995-96: Franz A. J. Szabo, Kaunitz and Enlightened Absolutism, 1758-1780 (Cambridge University Press, 1994)
  • 1994-95: Sander Gilman, Freud, Race, and Gender (Princeton University Press, 1993)
  • 1993-94: Bruce F. Pauley, From Prejudice to Persecution: A History of Austrian Anti-Semitism (University of North Carolina Press, 1992)
  • 1992-93: Carl Dolmetsch, "Our Famous Guest": Mark Twain in Vienna (University of Georgia Press, 1992)
  • 1991-92: Helmut Gruber, Red Vienna: Experiment in Working-Class Culture, 1919-1934 (Oxford University Press, 1991)
  • 1990-91: John Komlos, Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History (Princeton University Press, 1989)

ACF Article Prize

  • 1989: Harry Ritter, "Progressive Historians and the Historical Imagination in Austria: Heinrich Friedjung and Richard Charmatz," Austrian History Yearbook 19-20, no. 1 (1983-1984): 45-90.

* (Note: this AHY volume was actually published in 1988.)