Courtesy of Yale Department of Political Science (left) and Yale Department of the History of Art (right)

On Aug. 31, Yale’s Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies announced that it awarded two annual International Book Prizes, the Gustav Ranis International Book Prize and the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize, to professors Cécile Fromont and Didac Queralt.

The Gustav Ranis Prize is awarded for the best book by a Yale ladder faculty member, while the Gaddis Smith Prize is awarded for the best first book by a Yale ladder faculty member. 

Fromont won the prize for her recent book “Images on a Mission in Early Modern Kongo and Angola,” while Queralt received his award for his new title “Pawned States: State Building in the Era of International Finance.” The awards present an opportunity to its recipients for research via the allocation of a MacMillan Center research appointment and $5,000 in research funding. 

“This year, the committee selected the winners based on overall excellence and academic rigor,” explained Richard Sosa ’11, Senior Director of Engagement at the Center. 

Gaddis Smith Prize recipient Queralt told the News that his new project will examine the origins of current foreign aid programs, dating back to the interwar period. More specifically, he hopes to understand why such developmental aid programs were first implemented and which territories benefitted, as well as their “political and institutional outcomes.” 

Queralt hopes to travel to various archives in Europe, where he will work to compile datasets based on “hundreds of original records” concerning contemporary economic and political conditions.

“The new account appointment will be instrumental to this end because it enables me to collect the original data and digitize it for subsequent statistical analysis,” Queralt said.

For Fromont, the research funding will support her ongoing projects exploring the Afro-Atlantic power structures that “shaped the Atlantic world” in the 18th century — as well as on the “objects of prestige” that moved between Europe and coastal Africa along slave trade routes.

Fromont intends to put the award money specifically toward field research in Europe, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

“I look forward to joining the rich and diverse community of scholars at MacMillan, and continue to work with the Council on African Studies to bring Africa and its diasporas at the center of the scholarly conversation at Yale,” Fromont told the News. 

Past recipients of these prizes include Susan Rose-Ackerman ’70, who won for “Democracy and Executive Power: Policymaking Accountability in the US, the UK, Germany, and France” and Lucas Rambo Bender for “Du Fu Transforms: Tradition and Ethics Amid Societal Collapse.”

The MacMillan Center is located at 34 Hillhouse Ave.