On April 8th, 2017, at the annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, Professor Kaye was presented with the Haskins Medal, the Academy’s annual book prize, for A History of Balance, 1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
The commendation read at the presentation ceremony concludes with these words: “Kaye's complex intellectual bridgework between an impressive number of fields elicits, in Laura Smoller's words, a "feeling of intellectual wonder not unlike that of a child holding up a kaleidoscope, as the 'pieces' of medieval thought fall into a new and beautiful array." Equilibrium's character as a model rather than a formulated idea-something sensed more than spoken-leads Kaye to modes of inquiry as innovative as the content he garners, balancing ideation with environment, reception with verbal transmission. A History of Balance opens a profusion of fresh perspectives and an even wider array of fresh questions. And given our fraught contemporary world, his theme of balance may prove as timely as he makes it fresh.”
The Haskins Medal is the second major prize awarded to A History of Balance. Previously, it won the 2015 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History, which is the annual book prize sponsored by the American Philosophical Society.