About the prize
Modern & Contemporary France is delighted to establish a new annual prize, with the support of Taylor & Francis, for the best article published in the journal during the preceding year. The winning article is identified by an interdisciplinary subcommittee of the journal’s Editorial Board, which considers articles in view of their scope and originality, as well as the quality and clarity of their argumentation; their decision is then put to the Board for approval. The winning article is made available free-to-view for a year on Taylor & Francis Online (if not already available Open Access) and the author receives a £1,000 cash prize (split between co-authors if applicable). To avoid conflicts of interest, Editorial Board members and ASMCF Executive Committee members are not eligible to be considered for the prize during their term of service. The winner will normally be announced the spring of each year, for the preceding year, and the winner invited to collect their prize at the ASMCF conference in September.
The winning article for 2021 is “‘Le Riz d’Indochine’ at the French table: representations of food, race and the Vietnamese in a colonial-era board game” by Elizabeth M. Collins (University of Pennsylvania). Collins’s article examines colonial notions of race through an analysis of a 1932 board game doubling as an advertisement for ‘Indochinese Rice’ in France. The judges felt that this interdisciplinary article is written in an enticing way, which keeps the reader on their toes throughout. It is theoretically versatile and innovative, convincing in its ethical perspective and self-awareness. Collins beautifully justifies the argument that the object of study, a board game, both invites analytical interrogation deploying techniques from cultural studies — the patient visual analysis is superb — and brings its own contribution of significance to the table. The argument concerning the psychologically strategic importance of childhood is particularly impressive. The contradictions identified within the figure of what Collins calls the ‘Rice Man’ bloom and unfold brilliantly.