The Ken Inglis Prize is awarded by the Editorial Board of the journal Australian Historical Studies and the publisher Routledge/Taylor & Francis, to the best paper presented by a postgraduate student at the Australian Historical Association annual conference.
Congratulations to Henry Reese who has been awarded the Ken Inglis Prize for his paper ‘Protecting the National Soundscape: The Gramophone Industry and the Nation in the 1920s,’ presented at the AHA annual conference. The judges noted that ‘In this important and insightful essay, the author investigates evidence put to a 1920s Australian Tariff Board inquiry into gramophone records and the potential increase in the duty charged for imported records. Using a cultural history approach, this essay is notable for the questions that it asks of and through this archive: what can it tell us about how music was understood and valued in Australia in the 1920s? What can we learn about the gendering of different forms of music, and the ways that music styles such as jazz and classical were racialised and classed? And how was evidence ‘performed’ by the burgeoning sound recording industry in service of arguments around economic and cultural benefit and the construction of the consumer? By looking at this ostensibly economic inquiry and thinking about it through a cultural lens, new frameworks for understanding Australian identity and forms of nationalist protectionism are presented. This essay is clearly thoroughly researched, and the material located in multiple historiographical contexts. For its innovation, its attention to detail, and its elegant writing, the judges are pleased to award the 2019 Ken Inglis Prize to this essay.
The runner-up is Rose Cullen for her paper ‘The Old House Restoration Boom and National History in New South Wales 1960s – 2010s’. The judges highly commend this essay, which presents an original meditation on the ways that housing restoration has figured as a means through which to articulate national histories and identities.