2009 Winners

Senior Thesis Division, Friends of the Libraries Award


Senior Non-Thesis Division, Kenneth S. Allen Award

Valerie Hoagland (French and Italian Studies)
Dr. Susan Gaylard
La Vergine Completa: Visione Particolare di una Donna Straordinaria nel Quattrocentro

Despite the wealth of research conducted on the Italian Renaissance, the field of woman writers has been largely overlooked under the assumption that women in the Renaissance simply produced very little written work, and even then very little written work of any interest to modern scholars.  Only in the last ten to twenty years have a limited number of scholars begun to explore the topic, finding quickly that women did in fact produce a large quantity of work on a variety of topics that offer great insight into the intellectual and social culture of the Italian Renaissance.  This study examines a little-known collection of female biographies from 1497 by a male author, one of the earliest examples of this type of work in the Renaissance and extremely unique in its inclusion of a woodcut portrait of each of the 186 women it discusses.  An analysis of this author’s perspective on one female humanist writer, Isotta Nogarola, is made possible through the transcription and translation of the book’s original Latin text, of which no previous transcriptions or translations currently exist.  This analysis demonstrates the legitimacy of these women in their own time through their acknowledgement by their male counterparts, and the importance of their writings as evidenced by this authors use of female biographies for his own intellectual gain.  The unprecedented number of biographies included in this work, many with a perspective unique to its author (as demonstrated in this analysis of Isotta Nogarola’s biography), also serve to validate the existence of note-worthy, female-produced writings in the Italian Renaissance.  This project marks the beginning of an exploration of a previously overlooked and greatly important Renaissance text that will contribute to future research in the field of Italian woman writers.

©Reproduction of this award project in part or in whole without permission of the author is expressly prohibited.

Scarlett Mai (Comparative History of Ideas)
Dr. Maria Elena Garcia
Mediating the Tension Between Individual and Cultural Rights

Does human rights law replicate colonial law in its displacement and denigration of different cultural conceptions of justice? This essay argues that, although some transnational actors replicate colonial discourse when they prematurely criticize culture, indigenous women are not passively yielding to outside impositions of human rights. Rather, they are appropriating human rights and adopting tactics that resist, rather than reinscribe, national and transnational power structures. In defending traditional forms of village-based reconciliation against the criticism of the CEDAW Committee, Fijian women are reconceptualizing what it means to bring justice to victims of gender violence. Village-based reconciliation is an attractive addition to formal legal proceedings because it is flexible enough to incorporate counseling and compensation for victims. Fijian women navigate the tension between women’s rights and cultural rights by renegotiate gender relationships within their culture while affirming their right to define and shape village-based reconciliation.

©Reproduction of this award project in part or in whole without permission of the author is expressly prohibited.

Honorable Mention

Julia Abelev
Political Science
Perceptual Realism and the Winter War of 1939
Dr. Elizabeth Kier

Laura Harrington

Comparative History of Ideas
Freetown Girls: Post-Conflict Gender Identity in Sierra Leone
Christina Wygant and Dr. Clarke Speed

Maggi Nafie Little

European Studies
How the UN Failed Kosova and the Role of the EU
Professor Carol Thomas

Mikhail Smirnov
Explaining the East Asian "Miracle": Differentiating between Export Promotion and Retail Demand
Professor Gary Hamilton

Gus Andreasen, Alison McKay, Kristin Olson, Stephen Printz, Andrew Schwartz, Marta Schwendeman, Naama Sheffer, Jamie Stroble, and Julia Troutt
Canadian Studies
Towards Arctic Resolution: Issues of Sovereignty and Governance in the Circumpolar North
Nadine Fabbi and Professor Vincent Gallucci