This year's Presidential Undergraduate Prize for Best Undergraduate Essay on a Comparative Topic goes to Rosie Williams of Duke University, for her paper, “Paradox of Innocence: Objects and Architecture and the Violence of Space”. The members of the ACLA Presidential Undergraduate Prize Committee unanimously agreed that your thesis is solidly theoretically grounded, well researched, ambitious, and that it offers a potential for a significant contribution to scholarship in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. Your ability to navigate discourses about space in literary and cultural texts demonstrates your focus on the important and timeless question of “innocence” in an original and ambitious manner. Your close reading of Ohran Pamuk’s work aligns well with your ability to transition to an awareness of the differences and paradoxes among what are considered real and imagined spaces and places. The sophistication with which you approach the theoretical work of Theodor Adorno, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel de Certeau (as well as others) helps to support your work on the difference between the concepts and fantasies of space, and the materialization of those ideals in the forms of archival representations in museums, theatres, and national ritualized recognitions of events and narratives. In all, your thesis is complex and offers a unique approach to the concept of paradox that you seek to articulate.
2016 Presidential Undergraduate Prize Committee:
Erin Labbie, Bowling Green State University (Chair)
Anna Kornbluh, University of Illinois, Chicago.
Zita Nunes, University of Maryland