Dissertation Prize

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2020

We received 19 submissions for the WHN Undergraduate Dissertation prize on a diverse range of topics, time periods and geographical contexts. The standard of the entries was incredibly high and a real celebration of undergraduate women’s history .The students drew upon a wide range of methodologies, and each had an impressive command of the existing historiography in their respective areas of research. We were particularly impressed by their extensive and innovative engagement with primary source material, despite the very challenging circumstances of this year. Each dissertation was a pleasure to read and the entries are a real testimony to the vibrancy of women’s and gender history at undergraduate level.


The Winner is  Anya Cooper: ‘The Shared Vision of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, c.1890-1914’  
This is a highly original, polished and well-written dissertation. Through a comparative analysis of two women’s organisations, The Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the dissertation offers new insights into the ways national unity was forged in America at the turn of the twentieth century. The student’s sophisticated exploration of how these genealogical organisations sought to reconfigure historical memory and their engagement with vast range of primary material is particularly impressive.


There were three Highly Commended Entries

Ai-sha Arif: “The British Jungle”: Following an Anglo-Indian Flaneuse through the East End of London’ This beautifully written and wonderfully accomplished dissertation uses the writings of an Anglo-Indian social reformer Olive Malvery as a lens to explore broader themes relating to London’s East End at the turn of the twentieth century. Through an intersectional analysis of The Soul Market (1906), it covers complex issues surrounding race, gender, sexuality, poverty and Empire in fin-de-siècle Britain. The student deftly deals with these wide-ranging topics with ease and expansiveness, whilst remaining focussed on one text.

Kirsty Peacock: ‘Celine Renooz and Discourses of Female Scientific Expertise and Hysteria in Late Nineteenth Century France’ A sophisticated and highly original piece of research. The dissertation uses the work of scientific thinker and feminist Céline Renooz to draw broader conclusions about gendered scientific cultures in late nineteenth-century France. The student’s engagement with a range of complex theories, historiography and French primary source material is particularly impressive.

Amy Joyce: ‘Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Choice’: A Study of the Women’s Movements and Pro-Choice Campaigns in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and Scotland, 1970s-1980s’ A well-written and original piece of research, which comparatively analyses the women’s movement and abortion law in the maritime provinces of Canada and Scotland. The author skilfully engages with scholarship and comes to some insightful conclusions regarding the successes of the movements in both locations. The student draws upon a significant body of original, archival research throughout the study, and impressively engages with several disparate historiographies.Undergraduate