For the first time, the Department of History has honored seven undergraduate students with Early Recognition Awards. This new category of awards recognizes students for an outstanding performance in a HIS 301 Seminar or a 400-level History seminar during the previous fall semester. For the award description see the Schorlarships and Awards page. The Early Recognition Award recognizes their commitment to historical writing and research, as demonstrated in a seminar paper.
This year’s award winners have shown impressive thoughtfulness and acumen in addressing a broad spectrum of historical topics, ranging from local and regional history to the history of objects and material culture, and they include issues related to public health and the experience of marginalized groups in society, their discrimination, and resistance against suppression around the world.
The papers of the award winners attest to the vitality of history as a field of study as well as the department’s diverse course offerings. They demonstrate the creativity and multi-facetted competence of our advanced undergraduate students.
Among the recipients of the Early Recognition Awards are:
Josephine Dunn wrote her paper on the “Struggles of Women’s Sexuality in Nigeria” in Professor Mbah’s HIS 367 course on Women, Gender and Sexuality in Africa. She gives voice to queer women who were subjected to multiple forms of violence and discrimination. Josie shows how religious norms and legal measures contributed to discriminating against queer women due to their sexual orientation
Julia Giacona’s paper on “Gaming History Carved in Stone,” which she wrote in Professor Casteel’s HIS 301 seminar, picks up on an object we all know: dice! Julia tells the story of dice as material objects and shows how they have boosted social life and communal activities surrounding games, from the inception of Dangeons & Dragons in the 1970s to today’s video games.
Daniel Hayden, in his paper for Professor Mbah’s HIS 418 course on Comparative Slavery, introduced the reader to the controversies that have long surrounded the autobiographical account of the former slave Olaudah Equiano. He emphasizes that Equiano’s story prevails as a moral condemnation of slavery and an important contribution to the abolitionist movement.
Jack Phinney’s paper on measures to curb the spread of typhus in Buffalo in the early 20th century, authored in Professor Herzberg’s HIS 447 seminar on Health and Illness in American History, utilizes newspapers reports as a historical source. He concludes that public health measures were not always accompanied by advances in “social health,” that is, in dealing with social inequalities.
Darcy Winter explored various forms of artistic and literary imagery created by people in Chile who were suppressed and tortured under the country’s dictatorship in the 1970s. Written in the HIS 403 Seminar on the Cold War in Latin America taught by Professor Trumper, Darcy’s paper illustrates how such images served as vehicles to maintain a memory of traumatic events, retain individual identity and, more broadly, preserve a sense of humanity.
Layba Zaman wrote a paper on “Medical Masks in the 20th Century” in Professor Casteel’s HIS 473 Seminar on Technology in American Society & Culture. Already around 1900, the then new germ theory and the interest in avoiding the airborne transmission of fluids prompted the development of such masks. They were perfected over the course of the century, profiting from technical innovations such as filters and elastic bands and leading to what we’ve become accustomed to in our daily life since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.