Hazel V. Carby, the Charles C. & Dorathea S. Dilley Professor Emerita of African American Studies & American Studies at Yale University, has been selected as the winner of the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding from the British Academy, the United Kingdom’s national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize was established in 2013 to reward and celebrate the best works of nonfiction “that demonstrate rigor and originality, have contributed to global cultural understanding, and illuminate the interconnections and divisions that shape cultural identity worldwide.”
Dr. Carby was honored for her book Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands (Verso, 2019). The book weaves her family’s history into the wider history of Britain and Jamaica under the British Empire. Professor Carby is the daughter of a White Welsh mother and a Black Jamaican father. She grew up in South London.
Patrick Wright, emeritus professor of literature and history at King’s College and a member of the prize jury stated that “Imperial Intimacies reveals so much that should be remembered about the British Empire: the extent to which it shaped Britain and its attitudes, its cruelties, and the opportunities it offered even to poor Britons looking to improve their situations at the expense of their slaves or indentured workers. It is exceptional both in the tenacity with which Carby builds up historical worlds to give reality to ancestors only remembered as names, and in the way she manages to convert pain into understanding without becoming reconciled to the attitudes and circumstances that cramped her parents’ lives and, to an extent, continue to exist in the present.”
Dr. Carby taught at Yale University for 30 years, before retiring from teaching at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in England.