View all news

Former Bristol PhD Student wins Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation

14 February 2018

Former Bristol History PhD Student Milica Prokic has been awarded the prestigious Rachel Carson Prize for Best Dissertation (2017). The prize is awarded annually by the American Society for Environmental History.  This is the first time in the 25-year history of the award that it has been given to someone studying at a university outside North America, the first time that it has been given to someone who wrote it in English as a second language, and only the third time it has been awarded for a topic in European history.

Milica’s dissertation takes a trans-corporeal approach to the history of the former Yugoslav political prison camp ‘Barren Island’ (Goli otok), from the Cominform Period (1949-1956) to the present day.

On receiving the prize Milica said: ‘This is truly a great honour, and a very important thing for the research of the Goli otok political prisoners’ story. For a complex set of reasons, their story has been under-researched, and their voices silenced for decades. The Rachel Carson Award for my thesis contributes greatly to the visibility of this important story, and is a great drive both to continue and publish my research.’

Milica’s supervisor Professor Peter Coates expressed his delight at the award: 'I often ignore the phone when it rings. But I'm glad I picked up when Milica called out of the blue a few years ago. She'd read about our Militarized Landscapes project, and wanted to talk about her project about a small, rocky, sun-scorched island in the Adriatic where brutal things had been done to political prisoners. Four or so years later, I brought this prize to her attention and insisted she submit her thesis because I had a strange, but strong, feeling that she could win it.’

Edit this page