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Global Urban History Project

Date: 12/8/2023
Subject: Announcing GUHP essay prize winners
From: Global Urban History Project

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Announcing the 2023 GUHP Essay Prize Winners

 Congratulations to the winners of our inaugural Essay Prizes for Emerging Scholars!


Melon Rinds and Mecidiyeköy Flies: Trash Collection and Urban Responsibility in Early Republican Istanbul
In this exquisitely crafted and enthralling article, the author endeavors to contextualize Istanbul's 'dirtscape,' elucidating how municipal regulations in the early twentieth century precipitated novel configurations of people, space, and waste. The article distinguishes itself by ingeniously casting garbage as a distinctive vantage point for scrutinizing socio-political relationships, rendering it a standout entry in the competition. The author adeptly interweaves local Turkish and international historiographies, seamlessly integrating source fragments into a cohesive and expansive narrative. Furthermore, the article serves as an exemplary embodiment of GUHP's ideals, encapsulating the robust international ties between Istanbul and Western cities during the 1930s. This is exemplified through references to European and American instances of clean cities, encounters with a visiting engineer from Czechoslovakia, and Turkish participation in an urban sanitation conference in Frankfurt. The article not only illuminates the historical 'dirtscape' of Istanbul but also underscores the city's interconnectedness with global urban developments of its time.
Capitalizing on the Tidelands: Chinese Migrants, Environmental Conflicts, and the Circuits of U.S. Empire in Nineteenth-Century Oakland
Depicting the death and life of the fishing villages inhabited by Chinese migrants in the late 19th century that dotted the Oakland coastal line, Andrew Klein interweaves a rich history of international migrants, regional development, coastal ecology, capitalism, and American imperialism. The essay discloses how Chinese migrants made use of neglected nature, marginal geography, and global commerce to survive and escape from hostile and discriminatory conditions. A captivating narrative, it strongly critiques the capitalist economic system rooted in racial hierarchies, brutal labor, and environmental ruin. The essay presents original research, and expands the history of international migration from economic, political, and cultural, to ecological and institutional. It represents the ideals of GUHP in inspirationally examining the tensions between empire, capitalism, ecosystems, and global cultural communities.
To Keep the Land Populated: An Approach to the Process of Political Construction of San Juan de la Villa
In this engaging and well-researched essay, Taborelli explores the founding of San Juan de la Frontera y Villa, a frontier town established in the 1580s in Spain’s Real Audiencia de Charcas, in present-day Bolivia. Taborelli examines the processes of negotiation vital to the creation of San Juan, from the political ties forged by San Juan’s founders with local indigenous leaders to agreements made with the Spanish Audiencia over questions of settlers and labor. Taborelli shows how “political density” was forged in San Juan through the process of “localizing” Spanish power and patronage networks in this borderland space. Andean indigenous actors, in particular the Chiriguanos, played a central role in this process, Taborelli argues. The essay embodies the ideals of GUHP in drawing our attention to the role of imperial networks in the creation of urban spaces.  

Thank you to the 2023 GUHP Essay Prize Committee for their service!
  • Chair: Li Hou, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US & Tongji University, China
  • Katherine Zubovich, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo SUNY, US
  • Dries Lyna, Assistant Professor, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands