Samoan wins major history award
Associate Professor Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa’s Racial Crossings: Race, Intermarriage, and the Victorian British Empire, was last week announced the winner of the prestigious Ernest Scott Prize at the annual Australian History Association Conference in Adelaide.
The Ernest Scott Prize is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation.
Associate Professor Salesa said he felt extremely honoured to be joining the list of much-lauded past winners of the Ernest Scott Prize. “I am very humbled that my work has been held in such high esteem”, he says. “2012 has been an amazing year already, returning to New Zealand and the South Pacific after a decade abroad has been important for me, my wife Jenny and daughters Mahalia and Esmae, and now winning this award has made it even more special.”
Mr Walter Fraser, Director of the Centre of Pacific Studies, says the win is “very significant for New Zealand and the Pacific and is further confirmation of how well-regarded Professor Salesa is internationally. The University of Auckland is incredibly proud of Professor Salesa’s achievement and the acknowledgment that his work is receiving on the world stage.”
Published by Oxford University Press, Associate Professor Salesa’s book is described in the citation as “a landmark contribution to the scholarship on race and racial boundaries within modern imperial regimes.”
The citation goes on to say: “while he carefully explores imperial anxieties about the permeability of racial boundaries, Salesa also recovers the largely neglected story of those metropolitan observers, colonial officials and intellectuals, missionaries, humanitarians and indigenous leaders who stressed the progressive and productive potential of ‘racial crossings’. Marshalling meticulous archival work as well as a masterful set of historiographical reflections, Salesa offers a fundamental reassessment of racial thought and state practice within the Victorian empire.”
Associate Professor Damon Salesa completed his BA and MA(Hons) in History at The University of Auckland and then went on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he completed his D.Phil in 2001. He then taught at the University of Michigan from 2002-2011.