Georg Michels wins the 2023 CAS Book Prize

The Habsburg Empire Under Siege (McGill-Queens University Press, 2021) breaks new ground on the study of Christian-Muslim encounters in Early Modern Europe
Habsburg Empire Under Siege - Cover Art

With an impressive number of submissions under consideration, the Book Prize Committee at the Center for Austrian Studies is pleased to announce that Georg Michels (Professor of History, University of California-Riverside) is the winner of this year's award for Habsburg Empire Under Siege: Ottoman Expansion and Hungarian Revolt in the Age of Grand Vizier Ahmed Köprülü (1661–76). The book appeared with McGill-Queen's University Press in 2021. From the laudatio

Michel’s study provides a majestic revisionary portrayal of the final decades of Ottoman hegemony in Hungary and East Central Europe. Drawing from painstaking research in Austrian, Dutch, English, and Hungarian archives, Michels draws an animated picture, amazing for its rich detail of the Hungarian borderlands divided between the Habsburgs and Ottomans. He shows how the Hungarians were subject to Habsburg terror, exorbitant taxation, and religious persecution. Fearing an Ottoman incursion into Royal Hungary, the Habsburgs led a campaign of military reprisal and initiated a drive to Catholicize Hungary. These measures pushed the Hungarians into a massive rebellion in 1672. In response, Protestant nobles, peasants, and soldiers searched for Ottoman protection. Many crossed the border into Ottoman Hungary, establishing trans-imperial networks that sought Ottoman occupation of Royal Hungary. They pinned their hopes on Grand Vizier Ahmed Köprülü, a grand strategist who contested borders across Eastern Europe and whose vision constituted a great threat to the Habsburg realm. Museums in Budapest and Vienna still tell of a joint Hungarian and Austrian defense of Christendom against the Muslims, who appear as foreigners and barbarians. In contrast, Michels shows the Ottomans as a European agent, their imperial policies decidedly gentler and more inclusive than those of the Habsburgs. The Habsburg Empire under Siege exemplifies how diplomatic and military history, microhistorically deployed, can illuminate the landscape of the European borderlands, recover their lost voices, and reimagine European space beyond conventional boundaries.  

Congratulations, Professor Michels, on this accomplishment! 

About the Prize: The CAS Book Prize is awarded biennially, and has recognized scholars based in North America working across a range of academic disciplines who conduct groundbreaking research in the fields of Austrian, Habsburg and post-Habsburg, as well as Central and Eastern European Studies. Last awarded in 2020, the 2022 award was postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The next CAS Book Prize winner will be announced in 2025, with a new call for submissions appearing in late 2024. Books published in the 2023 and 2024 calendar years will be eligible for submission. 

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