barclay book prize

The David Barclay Book Prize was inaugurated in 2020 to mark the occasion of Dr. David E. Barclay’s retirement from the German Studies Association’s Executive Directorship, a position he held for fifteen years. This annual prize recognizes both Dr. Barclay’s service to the Association and his scholarship as Professor Emeritus of History at Kalamazoo College. The award will be given to the best monograph (in English or German and published in 2019 or 2020) on the social, cultural, economic, political, or labor history of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Germany or central Europe. Translations, edited collections, anthologies, memoirs, and books that have been previously published are ineligible for consideration for the Barclay Book Prize. Applicants may be non-US citizens as well as non-US residents. Applicants may apply for both the Barclay Book Prize and another GSA book prize in any given year, although no submission may ultimately receive more than one award.  

We are pleased to announce the 2022 Barclay Book Prize for books published in 2021. 

Prize Committee members:

  • Frank Biess (University of California - San Diego, chair)
  • Heidi Tworek (University of British Columbia, past winner)
  • Pamela Swett (McMaster)

Please submit all materials by March 31, 2022:

  • German Studies Association attn:
  • Barclay Book Prize
  • PO Box 407 51
  • Austin, TX 78704-9998 USA

The Barclay Book Prize was generously seeded by former GSA presidents and colleagues of David Barclay's. Donate to help us reach our goal of endowing the prize in perpetuity. To make your donation to the Barclay Book Prize, click here and select "Barclay Book Prize".




Steven Press’ book Blood and Diamonds. Germany’s Imperial Ambitions in Africa tells the important and hitherto neglected story of the colonial German diamond trade from the early 20th century into the post-World War I period. Focusing on diamonds from Southwest Africa, Press adds a crucial economic dimension to our understanding of German colonialism. Trade in diamonds, he argues convincingly, constituted a significant aspect of the German colonial economy and added an economic motivation to the German colonial enterprise. In particular, the author relates German “blood diamonds” to the more well-known history of the German colonial genocide in Southwest Africa. Deftly written and based on multi-archival evidence from several countries, including Namibia and South Africa, the book directs our attention to a central aspect of Germany’s imperial past.

The committee was deeply impressed by the author’s ability to analyze “blood diamonds” from a variety of perspectives, including German domestic politics, international finance, global trade, emerging consumer culture, labor regimes and colonial rivalries. Blood and Diamonds sheds light on the interaction of private economic interests and the imperial German state in exploiting the colony’s mineral riches. The author also presents distressing evidence of the racist and violent exploitation of migrant labor from Ovamboland that stood in the continuity of the German genocide of the Herero and Nama. We also learn of an underworld of diamond smuggling and myriad forms of illicit trade in diamonds. Finally, the book provides vivid portrayals of key individuals, most notably, Bernhard Dernburg, the head of the German colonial office from 1906 to 1910 and main organizer of the German diamond trade.