Philippa Maddern Prize

The Philippa Maddern Prize commemorates the late Professor Philippa Maddern, a noted scholar of medieval English social history at The University of Western Australia, and the founding Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. It is awarded to the author of the essay judged to be the best of those published in Emotions: History, Culture, Society each year. The prize is $500.

The criteria for the prize are:

  • an intellectually challenging and persuasive argument
  • persuasive application of emotion theories
  • provides a new and innovative perspective in the field of the history of emotions

Volume 3 (2019) WINNER

Dr Penelope Rossiter for her article: ‘The Municipal Pool in Australia: Emotional Geography and Affective Intensities.’ Emotions, History, Culture, and Society 3.2 (2019): 300-320.

The judging panel has awarded the Philippa Maddern Prize for 2019 to Dr Penelope Rossiter, Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University, for her essay ‘The Municipal Pool in Australia: Emotional Geography and Affective Intensities’, published in EHCS 3.2. Based on interviews with users of the Lawson Olympic Pool in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, the essay explores ‘how to think and write about “affective
intensities” that energise the emotional identifications with, and experiences of, place but that have no linear or necessary relation to particular emotions, no determinacy and no measure.’ In the words of one reader, ‘this is a beautifully written and engaging article, which will be of great value to scholars of affect and emotions in a range of disciplines who are interested in place, geography, affect theory, tears, grief and memory.’

The Society for the History of Emotions warmly congratulates Penny Rossiter on her success.

More information about the Society, including subscription to EHCS, is available through the website:

Volume 2 (2018) Winner

Erin Sullivan, for her article ‘The Role of the Arts in the History of Emotions: Aesthetic Experience and Emotion as Method’. Emotions: History, Culture, Society 2.1 (2018): 113–31.

Erin Sullivan’s essay argues for a stronger inclusion of artistic sources in the history of emotions. While recent and emerging histories of emotions have considerably opened up a broad source base to show how every kind of historical document – including mercantile, medical or legal – is suitable for exploring historical emotions and their social dynamics, the return to the arts as a source for understanding historical meanings of emotions is timely. With a robust field of literary scholars, art historians and scholars working in music and performance, a new dialogue between these scholars and those working with more documentary sources is now more possible than ever before.

Sullivan also reminds us in her essay that writing new histories of emotions is not carried out by emotionless scholars. As in other critical fields in the Humanities, e.g. on gender and race, the vantage points of scholars – including their own implicit values, attitudes and emotional perspectives – matter, and influence our choice of topics, methods and interpretations. A more explicit reflection of how we are placed in our own emotional economies, as expounded by Erin Sullivan, could open up new and exciting conversations in the field of historical emotions research.

Volume 1 (2017) Winner

Ben Gook, for his article ‘Ecstatic Melancholic: Ambivalence, Electronic Music and Social Change around the Fall of the Berlin Wall’. Emotions: History, Culture, Society 1.2 (2017): 11–37.

Professor Philippa Maddern was the Founding Director and a Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and Professor of History at The University of Western Australia until her death on 16 June 2014.