Camilla Townsend is the Winner of the $75,000 Cundill History Prize from McGill University

Camilla Townsend, a Distinguished Professor of History in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, recently received the 2020 Cundill History Prize from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. The award recognizes books that best embody historical scholarship, originality, literary quality, and broad appeal. The award includes a $75,000 stipend.

Professor Townsend was honored for her book Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs (Oxford University Press, 2019).

“Camilla Townsend revolutionizes how we should look at Aztec society before, during, and after the arrival of Europeans in Central America,” said Peter Francopan, the prize’s 2020 jury chair. “After more than 500 years, we are finally able to see history through the eyes of the Indigenous people themselves rather than those of their conquerors. Not many books completely transform how we look at the past. This is one of those that does.”

“I am tremendously honored to receive such a prize, almost overwhelmed by it. In truth, I think the award really belongs to the Aztec historians who wrote the texts that inspired me,” Professor Townsend said.

Dr. Townsend joined the Rutgers University faculty in 2006 after teaching at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and holds a Ph.D. in comparative history from Rutgers University.

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