The Graduate Awards Committee is pleased to announced the winners of the program's 2018-2019 Peer Essay Prize.
First Prize went to Coral Lumbley for her essay, “The ‘Dark Welsh’: Color, Race, and Alterity in Medieval Britain.” Coral's essay, as one committee member described it, takes up the important and vexed question of “how race is key to alterity in Medieval Britain” in "what feels to me to be an original and elegant discussion that draws upon a strong citational community of critical race studies.” Her argument was praised for being “theoretically difficult work with important real-world stakes, since the whiteness of the middle ages has become a touchstone for white supremacy and rightwing terrorism,” in the words of one of the committee members. In sum, as another reader put it, the essay is “insightful and elegantly argued—even for one unfamiliar with her materials this was a joy to read.”
Honorable Mention went to Leah Becker for her essay, “Calvinism at Home: How The Minister’s Wooing Resists the Secularization Thesis.” Her essay was lauded as “rigorous,” “thoughtful,” and “professional sounding." The clarity of her prose and the intervention of her argument was much commented upon; the ideas translated well beyond her field and made clear the stakes of examining the secularization thesis in relation to Stowe’s novel and to the “pressing issues of public/private shifts” as they “manifest within debates around women’s individual roles within Calvinism and their community.”