2020 Best Research Essays
James Compton, Best Undergraduate Research Paper
The committee members were very impressed by how James combined original research with insightful analysis of political and literary culture during Harlem Renaissance. Hs discussion of George S. Schuyler’s 1931 novel, Black No More, educated the committee members on the first science fiction novel by an African American author and brilliantly explored how satire and science fiction intersected to produce a sharp critique of race and racism in America.
Rachael Smith, Best Graduate Research Paper
Rachael’s essay was a well-written exploration of race and trauma in the American South as Jesmyn Ward’s gothic story, Sing, Unburied, Sing. We especially liked her attention to how the slave narrative becomes transformed in the contemporary novel.