Peter Dobkin Hall History of Philanthropy Prize
Monday, November 28, 2016
The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action
2016 ARNOVA Peter Dobkin Hall
History of Philanthropy Prize
Amanda B. Moniz
From Empire to Humanity:
The American Revolution & the Origins of Humanitarianism
Oxford University Press, 2016
The Peter Dobkin Hall History of Philanthropy Prize, new in 2016, honors the memory of an influential historian who made substantial contributions to ARNOVA by singling out a book that has made the most significant scholarly contribution to our understanding of the history of philanthropy, defined in broad terms to include the history of nonprofit organizations, civil society, as well as the giving of money, time, and care.
From Empire to Humanity extends our understanding of philanthropy and humanitarianism in the history of the United States back to the decades immediately before and after the American Revolution. Amanda Moniz shows how Protestants on both sides of the North Atlantic, in England and Scotland as well as in Britain’s colonies in the West Indies as well as on the North American mainland. Her central focus in on what she calls “a revolution in humanitarian sensibilities and practices” as people on all four corners of this polygon came to grips with the separation of the new United States from Britain and its empire.
In persuasive, readable prose, Moniz provides a clear account of conversations that took place in the complicated contexts of British and American religious and intellectual debate during a critical phase of the Enlightenment. Previous studies have, as she notes, focused on “distinct nations or particular movements, such as antislavery or prison reform. She successfully shows how discussions that had lasting influence transcended national borders and narrow concerns. This thoughtful contribution is especially timely at a moment when many are raising fundamental questions about international relations, and about the possibilities of trans-border philanthropy.