Waterloo Centre for German Studies announces inaugural book prize winner

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The winner of the inaugural Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) Book Prize has just been announced. Alice Weinreb of Loyola University Chicago is the winner for her book Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth-Century Germany, published by Oxford University Press.

winning book cover

book prize crest

Professor Weinreb examines how hunger has been a central motivating force in German politics throughout the 20th century. By focusing on the role of hunger in German society, Prof. Weinreb demonstrates “the fluid relationship between state power and food provisioning.” If governments control the food supply, they can also control the populaces they govern, and Prof. Weinreb uses Germany as a case study to illustrate this important point.

Jury members singled out Prof. Weinreb’s book for its crisp writing, its wealth of detail, and the wide variety of sources consulted. The book is “a page-turner, with fascinating facts running counter to modern stories about the past on every page.” Exploring the topic from World War I to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, “this book uncovers the intricacies of the relationship between food and power, showing food and hunger as instruments of power.” The jury concluded that this book will likely become one of the standard works on postwar German history.

The jury was chaired by James M. Skidmore, Director of the Waterloo Centre of German Studies, who notes that the prize was established “to raise awareness, within academia and the broader public, of the engaging and dynamic knowledge being produced by newer German Studies scholars.” He was joined by jurors Karin Bauer (McGill University), Ann Marie Rasmussen (University of Waterloo), Ritchie Robertson (University of Oxford), and Karina Urbach (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton).


The WCGS Book Prize is awarded for a first scholarly book. Any book published in English (or in French with a Quebec-based publisher) in 2017 was eligible. The prize consists of CAD $2,000 and an invitation to give a keynote address at the annual conference of the Canadian University Teachers of German, held in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Prof. Weinreb’s book was selected from a shortlist representing the excellent work being done in German studies today:

  • Katherine Stone’s Women and National Socialism in Postwar German Literature: Gender, Memory, and Subjectivity (Boydell and Brewer)
  • Lisa M. Todd’s Sexual Treason in Germany during the First World War (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Erica Wickerson’s The Architecture of Narrative Time: Thomas Mann and the Problems of Modern Narrative (Oxford University Press)
  • Jonathon O. Wipplinger’s The Jazz Republic: Music, Race, and American Culture in Weimar Germany (University of Michigan Press);
  • Jenny Wüstenberg’s Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany (Cambridge University Press).

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 WCGS Book Prize (for books published in 2018). Read about eligibility criteria and how to apply.

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