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Professor Corey Ross, Professor of Modern History at the University of Birmingham, UK, has been awarded the prestigious George Louis Beer Prize for 2018 for his book Ecology and Power in the Age of Empire: Europe and the Transformation of the Tropical World.

A rubber plantation

The prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) to honour a distinguished book in European international history since 1895. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Association’s 133rd Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, January 3-6, 2019. 

Professor Ross’s book was selected by a prize review committee of AHA members including Mary Nolan (New York Univ.), chair; Geoff Eley (Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor); James B. Loeffler (Univ. of Virginia); Susan K. Morrissey (Univ. of California, Irvine); and Michelle E. Tusan (Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas). 

Ecology and Power in the Age of Empire: Europe and the Transformation of the Tropical World was published in April 2017 by Oxford University Press.  

It is the first wide-ranging environmental history of the heyday of European imperialism, from the late 19th century to the end of the colonial era. It provides a historical perspective on the vital nexus of social, political and environmental issues faced by the world in the twenty-first-century. Its broad chronological coverage enables an understanding of change over time, which is crucial to assessing the ecological impact of modern imperialism.

Photo of Professor Corey Ross

It also enables the reader to draw connections and comparisons between the environmental histories of European empires, rather than the usual British-empire-centric studies, and provides a synthesis of existing scholarly literature from across several academic disciplines. 

The Beer Prize was established in accordance with the terms of a bequest by George Louis Beer (1872–1920), historian of the British colonial system before 1765, to be awarded annually for the best work on any phase of European international history since the year 1895 that is submitted by a scholar who is a United States citizen or permanent resident.

'This award is a great honour, and what makes it doubly pleasing is how it reflects the fact that exploring human societies as an integral part of the rest of nature has increasingly become a mainstream concern among historians.’  

The American Historical Association is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1884 and incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies. The AHA provides leadership for the discipline, protects academic freedom, develops professional standards, aids in the pursuit and publication of scholarship, and supplies various services to sustain and enhance the work of its members. As the largest organization of historians in the United States, the AHA is comprised of over 12,000 members and serves historians representing every historical period and geographical area. For further information, go to