The British Academy announces Shortlist for The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2020


HAZEL V. Carby’s Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands has been selected along with four other titles shortlisted for the eighth Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.

Announced today by the the British Academy the international book prize, worth £25,000, rewards and celebrates the best works of non-fiction that have contributed to global cultural understanding, throwing new light on the interconnections and divisions shaping cultural identity worldwide.

This year’s shortlist, selected from over 100 submissions – a record number for the prize – introduces readers to some of the most important global issues of the day as leading experts delve deeply into the untold stories around Empire, colonialism, indigenous peoples and the pioneering anthropologists who shaped our interpretation of what it means to be human. 

The five books on the 2020 shortlist, alphabetically by author surname, are:

Hazel V. Carby

Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands by Hazel V. Carby (Verso) 

Insurgent Empire – Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent by Priyamvada Gopal (Verso)Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power by Pekka Hämäläinen (Yale University Press)

The Reinvention of Humanity: A Story of Race, Sex, Gender and the Discovery of Culture by Charles King (The Bodley Head)

All Our Relations: Indigenous trauma in the shadow of colonialism by Tanya Talaga (Scribe)

In Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands, Hazel V. Carby summons her memories of growing up in post-war England and Wales, as the daughter of a Jamaican father and Welsh mother, to trace the history of her family as it was shaped under the British Empire.

Where are you from?’ was the question hounding Carby as a girl in post-World War II London.

One of the so-called brown babies of the Windrush generation, her neighbourhood, and her country of birth was always in doubt.

For three decades Carby taught at Yale University as the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and Professor of American Studies.

Carby is a co-author of The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain and author of Cultures in Babylon: Black Britain and African AmericaRace Men, and Reconstructing Womanhood. 

Judges said: “Hazel Carby takes us on a compelling journey discovering her personal family history, and while doing so sheds light on the imperial shadow of Britain.

“It simultaneously weaves a beautifully written tale of personal identity, while also inviting the reader to reflect on the historical sources of our pre-conceptions involving race and identity.”

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