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Release: Immediate

UI historian wins national award from political science group

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Academic associations rarely give prizes to scholars outside the discipline, but Sarah Hanley, a University of Iowa professor of history, has broken one such barrier to win a national prize from the American Political Science Association. Hanley was awarded the association's annual prize for the best article written on Politics and History in 1997.

Hanley's winning article, "Social Sites of Political Practice in France: Lawsuits, Civil Rights, and the Separation of Powers in Domestic and State Government, 1500-1800," was published last year in the American Historical Review, the premier academic journal for history. She said she was pleased to have the article accepted by such a prestigious journal and that to have her work recognized by the political science association as well was doubly gratifying.

"I'm pleased that this article was of interest to these two constituencies ­ historians and political scientists," Hanley said. "The University of Iowa has always created an atmosphere in which faculty are encouraged to work across disciplines, as I did in this article. With that freedom to cross over into other disciplines, our work is read by larger audiences."

Shelton Stromquist, chairman of the UI history department, said he was extremely proud of Hanley's accomplishment. "This is quite extraordinary for a historian to win the national prize from the APSA," he said. "It testifies to the interdisciplinary impact of her work on state formation in early modern France."

The article deals with the early creation of a governance structure in France, which controlled both domestic and state affairs. Hanley explores this system's effect on civil rights by focusing on marital separation lawsuits. She uses the lawsuits to show how the political theory on the "separation of powers" originated on conflicts over domestic governance and then was applied to the state.

Hanley conducted the research and wrote the award-winning article with the support of a Guggenheim Fellowship during the 1995-96 academic year. She spent that year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.

For more information, contact Hanley at (319) 335-2330.