In October 2016, ICOHTEC invited young scholars to submit their work for its annual prize for 2017. The prize committee, consisting of Jeremy Kinney (chair), Yoel Bergman, Irina Gouvezitch, and Klaus Staubermann, received and reviewed 11 works consisting of doctoral theses and published books in English (4), French (2), German (2), and Spanish (3).
The committee selected for the prize Brice Cossart’s dissertation, Les artilleurs et la Monarchie Catholique: Fondements technologiques et scientifiques d’un empire transocéanique (The Gunners and the Catholic Monarch War: Technology and Science in the Shaping of a Transoceanic Empire), defended at the European University Institute in Florence, in 2016.
Cossart’s dissertation, Les artilleurs et la Monarchie Catholique, documents the tremendous growth in artillery as a professional branch of military arms sponsored by Hapsburg Spain in the 16th century. Through annexation and colonization, Spain suddenly needed great amounts of qualified personnel and increasingly complex cannons to protect its new Atlantic navy and merchant fleets, to defend new fortifications, and to conduct wars for power and territories in Europe. Cossart’s work reveals that issues of the artillery stood at various interfaces between evolving states, the military, science, technology, and modern organizations and had important implications for organizational structures and individuals throughout all parts of the empire.
The committee concluded that Cossart’s work is an innovative and pioneering work that contributes to the socio-historical study of technical professions through its combination of micro- and macro-historical approaches. The individual, statistical, and typological study of the professional corps of artillerymen as an important example of anonymous technical experts is cutting-edge, original, and complements contemporary trends in this field.
Jeremy R. Kinney, Ph.D.
Curator, Aeronautics Department
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum