Paul Schor receives the 2011 Willi Paul Adams Award

Paul Schor, Université Paris Diderot, has been selected by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) to receive the 2011 Willi Paul Adams Award, which is given biennially for the best book on American history published in a foreign language. On Saturday, March 19, OAH President David A. Hollinger and President-Elect Alice Kessler-Harris will present the award in Houston, Texas, during the 104th annual meeting of the organization.

Schor’s book, Counting and Classifying: A History of American Censuses (Éditions de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales), provides a provocative study of the intersection of the politics of census-making and the politics of race in the United States, according to the Willi Paul Adams Award Committee. He employs a sophisticated analysis of theories and practice of counting and demonstrates that the varieties of ways in which race was imagined in the United States both shaped and was shaped by the need to classify and count. A particular strength of this study is its attention to the long arc of contested change in race and censusmaking, tracing changes in how race mattered in the United States during the era of legal slavery, through its contested end, and into and past the period of broadly applied Jim Crow, which set different ethnic groups in conflict and tension. He concludes with some attention to the newly complicated racial imaginings which inform more recent censuses. A key contribution of this study is its attention to the many layers of context, including local, regional, and national. The committee enthusiastically selected Counting and Classifying for its insightful and accessible contribution to U.S. social history, the history of race and ethnicity in the United States, and the history of census-making and social statistics.

Founded in 1907, OAH is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Members in the U.S. and abroad include college and university professors; students; precollegiate teachers; archivists, museum curators, and other public historians employed in government and the private sector.