Congratulations to the 2015 Research Awards Winners!

First Place

first place winner Avenel Rolfsen
First Place: Avenel Rolfsen

Avenel Rolfsen, for her essay, "Afrikanderdom's Promised Land: Colonial Namibia and the Whitening of the South African Frontier"

Faculty Advisor: Gary Marquardt

This project was mainly based on the use of primary sources with the aid of Secondary Sources that were made available to me through interlibrary loan. The Family History Library in Downtown Salt Lake City houses microfilm copies of marriage records from Namibia post World War II and beyond. This last summer I spent hours identifying where people were born and their race and occupation. I collected this information for Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Using this information, I was able to construct a micro picture of immigration into Windhoek during this time. However, to construct a macro picture of the country I had to look a little bit harder for resources, and this is where the library came in.

Avenel Rolfsen, Reflective Essay

This essay "is an excellent and rare example of historical scholarship using quantitative evidence and analysis to expose and address gaps in historical literature regarding twentieth century southern Africa and world history. "

Gary Marquardt, Faculty recommendation

Second Place

second place winner Kathryn Van Sleen
Second Place: Kathryn Van Sleen

Kathryn Van Sleen for her project "'Hurry up with my Damn Croissants': Alternative Black Masculinities in Kanye West's Yeezus as Compared to Toni Morrison's Beloved"

Faculty Advisor: Christopher LeCluyse

My research for this assignment, a topic I thought of independently and to which I have been dedicated for the past school year, has been facilitated by several different research methods— many of which I never knew existed until I became absorbed in this project. . . . I believe that the literacy skills that I've acquired during the span of this project will help me to potentially expand it in graduate school, or to attempt other research projects on my own.

Kathryn Van Sleen, Reflective Essay

By bringing together popular and literary art, hip-hop and the novel, Katie’s project has the exciting potential to shake up our received notions of what 'counts' culturally and demonstrate how hip-hop participates in a larger rhetoric of antiracism.

Christopher LeCluyse, Faculty recommendation

Emerging Researcher

emerging researcher award winner Seamus Branch
Emerging Researcher: Seamus Branch

Seamus Branch, for his essay, "I Ain't Takin no Shit: the Expression of the Queer Black Movement Through Hip Hop and Rap"

Faculty Advisor: Sean Desilets

The academic study of rap and hip-hop, not to mention the academic study of queer rap and hip-hop, is an extremely limited one. The articles that I found through the library gave me a deeper level of understanding of the intersectionality of queer, and black movements, a key component of my essay.

Seamus Branch, Reflective Essay

Seamus deftly outlines the myriad difficulties facing this movement . . . [but] presents an ultimately optimistic vision both that solidarity can be established between queer and hip-hop cultures and that black queer rappers have found ways to insist on the importance of their own experience even in the absence of that hoped-for solidarity. "

Sean Desilets, Faculty recommendation