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History Undergraduate Essay Prize Winners

“Congratulations to Elizabeth Crisp, Dana Lamkin, and Jimmy Ardoin, the winners of our department’s annual Undergraduate Paper Prize! Their fascinating essays are a tribute to the wonderful and highly original historical research our students are engaged in each semester!”

Our first prize winner, Elizabeth Crisp (HIST 481 with Prof. Hatfield), who wrote a paper titled “Floridian Confusion: Inconsistencies in Colonial British and Spanish Maps of Florida.” Elizabeth’s essay was remarkable for two reasons. One, it persuasively demonstrated that Native American military power and geographic knowledge became the crucial factors shaping colonial mapmaking and imperial planning in both London and Madrid. And two, the paper cleverly and creatively told its story by eschewing traditional primary sources in favor of maps and other forms of cartographic imagery.

Our second prize winner, Dana Lamkin (HIST 303 with Prof. Hudson), who wrote a paper titled “Where the West Begins.” This exceptionally well-written essay examined the transformation of the Fort Worth stockyards into a tourist destination during the 1970s and 1980s. The committee praised Dana’s paper for its insightful attention to the way city leaders reimagined (and fictionalized) the history of the West, amplifying the voices and struggles of some while erasing the lives of others.

Our third prize winner, Jimmy Ardoin (HIST 469 with Prof. Erin Wood), who wrote a paper titled “El Bogotazo and La Chusma.” Ardoin’s essay examined the aftermath of the 1948 assassination of Jorge Gaitán, a prominent Colombian political leader. Rather than simply take biased media accounts of the subsequent rioting at their word, Ardoin used oral histories of those chaotic events to paint a rich and nuanced portrait of Latin America’s political history “from the bottom up.”