WHA Undergraduate & Graduate Student Paper Prizes

The World History Association and Phi Alpha Theta jointly sponsor two student paper prizes in world history. Separate cash awards in the amount of $250 are given for the best undergraduate world history paper and the best graduate-level world history paper composed in the academic year. A one-year membership in the WHA and a certificate will also be included with each prize.

A world history paper is one that examines any historical issue with global implications. Such studies can include, but are not limited to, the exchange and interchange of cultures, the comparison of two or more civilizations or cultures, or the study in a macrohistorical manner of a phenomenon that had a global impact. For example, world history topics might include a study of the trans-cultural impact of Eurasia’s Silk Road; a comparative study of the Ottoman and British empires; or the worldwide impact of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

The Committee will judge papers according to the following criteria: world historical scope; originality of research; depth of analysis; and prose style.


To be eligible, students must have composed the paper while enrolled at an accredited college or university during the 2021–2022 academic year, and either they or the faculty member who taught the course must be members of either the World History Association or Phi Alpha Theta.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions must be no longer than 30 typewritten, double-spaced pages of text, exclusive of the title page, endnotes, and bibliography.

Number all pages except for the title page.

Endnotes must conform to standard historical formats. Do not use parenthetical notes.

The author’s identity is to appear nowhere on the paper.

A separate, unattached page should accompany the paper, identifying the author, title of paper, home address, telephone number, e-mail address, college affiliation, graduating year and status (undergraduate or graduate student), and the association (WHA or ΦΑΘ) to which the person belongs. Phi Alpha Theta members must indicate the institution at which they were inducted and the year.

A one-page (250-word) abstract must accompany each submission. Abstracts of winning papers will be published in all announcements of competition results.

Additionally, a letter or e-mail from a relevant history faculty member (the supervising professor, the chair of the department, or the Phi Alpha Theta chapter advisor) must attest to the fact that the paper was composed during the preceding academic year.

Papers that do not adhere to these guidelines will be disqualified.

Winning papers are eligible for consideration for publication in the various journals of the World History Association and Phi Alpha Theta, but no promise of publication accompanies any award.

Submission Instructions

Send submissions via e-mail with the following attachments in MS Word format:

  1. the paper;
  2. the page with identifying information; and
  3. the abstract.

The faculty member’s letter must be e-mailed or posted separately.

Send the submission via e-mail to the Committee Chair, Jon Davidann <jdavidann@hpu.edu>.


Send hardcopy materials to the Committee Chair at the address listed below. Hardcopy submissions must include four (4) printed copies each of the paper, the page with identifying information, the abstract, and the faculty member’s letter, by post to:

Jon Davidann
Professor of History
Hawai‘i Pacific University
1188 Fort St., Rm. MP 325
Honolulu, HI 96813-2713

Submission Deadline

Entries can be emailed by May 31, 2023.

Past Winners


  • Undergraduate division (winner): Estey Chen, University of Washington – Seattle, “Cracks in the Bandung Spirit: The 1962 Sino-Indian War and Decline of Third World Solidarity”
  • Undergraduate division (runner up): Wendi Zhou, University of Washington, “’Translating Guilt to Commitment’: Racial and Queer Intersections in Afro-German Berlin, 1981 – 1992″


  • Graduate division: Andrew Merz, Hawaii Pacific University, “’The British Middle East Campaign in World War I: A Brief Historiography of an Oil Origin Story”
  • Undergraduate division: Noah Hull, Hawaii Pacific University, “Who Wants to Live Forever: Freddie Mercury’s Statue in Switzerland”


  • Graduate division: Jian Gao, University of Texas Austin, “Political Mobilizations and Cultural Spaces: Transnational Chinese Associations in Mexico, 1922 – 1945″


  • Graduate division: Julie van den Hout, San Francisco State University, “’The Seas But Join the Nations They Divide’: Connecting Science and Humanity on the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic through Messages in Bottles.”
  • Undergraduate division: Julia Fine, Harvard University, “Growing British India: The Colonial Biopolitics of the Potato”


  • Graduate division: Luke Scalone, Northeastern University, “French Fascism & Empire: The Case of Tunisia”
  • Undergraduate division: Whitney Spake, Troy University, “Among the Steppes: A Societal Study of the Soviet Past in Kyrgyzstan”


  • Graduate division: Rachel Schrottman, Northeastern University, “Françafrique: The French Role in Rwanda”
  • Undergraduate division: Robert Nowland, University of North Carolina at Asheville, “The Game of United States Diplomacy within the Ottoman Empire: How the United States Interests in the Ottoman Empire Delayed Its Entrance into the Great War”


  • Graduate division: Rachel Schrottman, Northeastern University, “Impact of Belgian Colonization on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda”
  • Undergraduate division: Beninio McDonough-Tranza, Freie Universität Berlin, “The Construction of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ in a Semi-Colonial Community: The Case of Japan Punch, 1862–1883”


  • Graduate division: No award made.
  • Undergraduate division: Emilia Antiglio, University of Warwick, “The Diffusion of Porcelaine des Indes in Eighteenth-Century France: From Lorient to Paris and Beyond, 1720–1775”


  • Graduate division: No award made.
  • Undergraduate division (co-winners):
    • Matthew Wallin, Northern Kentucky University, “Intellectual Crosscurrents of the Black Atlantic: Pan Africanism and Civil Rights in the Time of the Cold War”
    • Jakub Mscichowski, Simon Fraser University, “From Avalokitesvara to Guanyin and the Maria Kannon: Charting the Roles of Syncretism in East Asian Christianities”


  • Graduate division: No award made.
  • Undergraduate division (co-winners):
    • Priya Shah, Chapman University, “Language, Discipline, and Power: The Extirpation of Idolatry in Colonial Peru and Indigenous Resistance”
    • Christopher Heap, University of Warwick, “Silks, Silver and Contraband: The Eastwards Manila Galleon in the Global Economy, 1571–1815”


  • Graduate division: Kathryn Hain, University of Utah, “The Mediterranean Trunk Line to Slavery: The Early Medieval Slave Trade in Europeans”
  • Undergraduate division: Hyeok Hweon Kang, Emory University, “Big Heads and Buddhist Demons: The Korean Military Revolution and the Northern Expeditions of 1654 and 1658”


  • Graduate division (co-winners):
    • Andrew Christian Peterson, University of Hawaii at Manoa, “What Really Made the World Go Around? Indio Contributions to the Acapulco–Manila Galleon Trade”
    • Adam P. J. Witten, University of Hawaii at Manoa, “Cross-Fertilizing the Botanical Sciences: Japan’s Role in the Formation of Disciplinary Science”
  • Undergraduate division: Nathanael Cameron Hood, Ursinus College, “The Roots of Mahayana Buddism”


  • Graduate division: Gregory Rosenthal, Stony Brook University, “Boki’s Predicament: The Material Culture and Environmental History of Hawaiian Sandalwood, 1811–1830”
  • Undergraduate division: Samantha Huang, University of California, Berkeley, “Technologies of Chinese Smuggling: Migratory Knowledge and Networks, 1882–1924“


  • Graduate division: no prize awarded
  • Undergraduate division: Jonathan D. Garon, University of Rochester, “A Tainted Peace: The Failure of De-Nazification in Occupied Germany”


  • Graduate division: Gail Marlow Taylor, California State University, Fullerton, “The Book of Secrets: Alchemy and the Laboratory Manual from Al-Razi to Libavius, 920–1597”
  • Undergraduate division: Tim Davies, University of Warwick, “What Did Indian Merchants Do? Gujarat and the Trade to East Africa in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”


  • Graduate division: Preston Bakshi, University of California, Irvine, “Decolonizing Medicine: Professionalization and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Independent India”
  • Undergraduate division: Rigel A. Behrens, Northern Kentucky University, “Jesus Christ, Karl Marx, and the Cold War: The Latin American Church’s Response to a Changing World”
    Undergraduate division runners-up:
    • Taylor Burton, Columbus State University, “Bwiti: A Syncretic Faith of Modern Africa”
    • Kevin Michael Smith, University of California, Irvine, “Coterminous Companions: Nationalism, Class, and Anational Arab–Jewish Cooperation in Mandatory Palestine”


  • Graduate division: Jeffer Daykin, Portland State University, “Progressive Pedagogy in Rural China: Tao Xingzhi’s Xiaozhuang Experimental School as an Implementation of John Dewey’s Educational Philosophy”
  • Undergraduate division: Robert Cole, University of Richmond, “Power and Performance in Bombay’s Victoria Terminus”


  • Graduate division: Phillip Sinitiere, University of Houston, “Navigating the Indian Ocean: Exploring the Textures of an African Diaspora”
  • Undergraduate division: Kyle Jackson, Simon Fraser University, “Preface to a Brief History of Modern Humans”


  • Graduate division: Luke Clossey, University of California, Berkeley, “Distant Rites: The Jesuit China Mission and Its Global Ritual Community”
  • Undergraduate division: Elizabeth Kamradt, Northern Kentucky University, “Colonial Jamestown and Cape Town: A Discussion of Early Changes and Lastinf Outcomes”


  • Graduate division: Christopher J. Lee, Stanford University, “Current Concepts in the Red Atlantic: World History as Political Practice in Cape Town, South Africa, 1943–48”
  • Undergraduate division: Kathleen Vazoulas, Marist College, “Complexity of Relations: Mexico and the United States, 1938–1942”


  • Graduate division: no prize awarded
  • Undergraduate division: Nadine Leon, Sacred Heart University, “The Saint Domingue Revolution: The Impact of the Revolution on Colonial France, 1789–1815”
    Undergraduate division runners-up:
    • Laurie Lahey, Rowan College, “Time After Time: China, Europe, and the Fate of the Mechanical Clock”
    • Kirk Lawler, North Central College, “The Jesuit Incursion into Ming China: Science and Humanism in the Service of God”


  • Graduate division: Mary Ann R. Gabbert, University of Texas, El Paso, “El Paso, A Sight for Sore Eyes: Medical and Legal Aspects of Syrian Immigration, 1906–1907”
  • Undergraduate division: Thomas D. Pomenti, Ursinus College, “Genocidal and Non-Genocidal Cleansings: Why a Perpetrating Regime Will Choose Either Total Murder or Mass Expulsion as Its Means of Population Cleansing”