Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Awarded to Christine M. DeLucia

Christine M. DeLucia recognized for Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) has announced that the 2019 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize will go to Christine M. DeLucia for her book Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast, published in 2018 by Yale University Press. The Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize is given to the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year. DeLucia will receive the award at an event at the Society on Monday, 3 February 2020 (snow date is Thursday, 13 February).

After reviewing 15 submissions that interpret the history of Massachusetts through an exciting range of subjects and time periods, the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize selection committee chose Memory Lands as the winner this year. The committee notes that the book “is a major intervention in scholarship on 17th-century New England. By centering Indigenous spaces and experiences, DeLucia offers a salutary alternative to the many previous accounts of this conflict that foreground the experience of white settlers in New England. Through detailed reconstructions of specific places, Memory Lands produces narratives of these settler sites that articulate Indigenous presence and survival, against the colonialist stories inscribed on them.”

“Delucia’s account shows the many ways that the violence of this conflict is present today in the elision of Native spaces and experiences from sites of commemoration,” wrote the selection committee. “For people familiar with the spaces DeLucia revisits, this book adds a crucial layer to how we understand and experience these spaces. For these reasons, and these readers, it is a compelling choice for the 2019 Gomes Prize.”

Christine DeLucia is Assistant Professor of History at Williams College. She focuses on Native American/Indigenous and early American topics. Her research, teaching, and writing involve community collaborations, decolonizing approaches to archives, museums, and knowledge circulation, and socially transformative ways of connecting past, present, and future. Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast is her first book. Prior to Williams, DeLucia was a member of the history faculty at Mount Holyoke College. In 2018-2019, she held a research fellowship at Chicago’s Newberry Library to work on her second book, a study of Native communities’ complex modes of dwelling, adaptation, and sovereignty in the 18th-century Northeast. DeLucia completed a Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale, an M.Litt. in Environmental History at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and an A.B. in History and Literature at Harvard.

About the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize
The Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize, for the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year, honors the memory of a respected Harvard scholar and beloved Fellow of the MHS. Peter J. Gomes (1942-2011) was elected to the MHS in 1976 and joined the Board of Overseers in 2010. He was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University.