The Undergraduate Program


Thesis Prizes and Honors

CHARLES A. BEARD THESIS PRIZE IN HISTORY
Established in 2003 by the History Department, the Charles A. Beard Senior Thesis Prize in History is awarded annually for a senior thesis of superior distinction in any historical field and period.

2018 Recipient: Julien Reiman, for his thesis “‘A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947

GARRETT MATTINGLY THESIS PRIZE IN HISTORY
The Garrett Mattingly Thesis Prize in History, established in 2003 by the History Department, is awarded annually for a senior thesis of superior distinction in any historical field and period.

2018 Recipient: James Woodall, for his thesis “From ‘Servant’ to ‘Hotel Worker’: Class Warfare, Hotel Workers, and Wobblies in New York City, 1893–1913

CHANLER HISTORICAL PRIZE
A prize established at the bequest of J. Winthrop Chanler of the Class of 1847, the Chanler is awarded to the Columbia College senior who submits the best thesis on a topic dealing with the history of civil government in America.

2018 Recipient: Elizabeth Kandel, for her thesis “‘Have we an American design?’: The Index of American Design and the United States’ Search for National Culture in the Great Depression

ALBERT MARION ELSBERG PRIZE
Established by Mrs. Albert Elsberg in memory of her son, Albert Marion Elsberg, this prize may be awarded to a Columbia College senior who has demonstrated excellence in modern history.

2018 Recipients: Edward Crouse, for his thesis “‘Upheld by Force:’ Sylvia Pankhurst’s Sedition of 1920” and Samuel Henick, for his thesis “Winter’s not yet gone: Construction and Memory of the Winter of Discontent in Popular and Scholarly Discourse

HERBERT H. LEHMAN PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN HISTORY
Given to a General Studies student with an outstanding record of accomplishment in history courses at Columbia.  Preference given to those with substantial coursework in US History.

2018 Recipient: Benjamin Fortun, for his thesis “Unholy Gospel: The Radical Songs of The Industrial Workers of the World

LILY PRIZE
For the best senior thesis in history on a non-US topic, established by James P. Shenton in memory of his mother. 

2018 Recipient: Arielle Alterwaite, for her thesis “Medical Imaginaries and the Emergence of Biopolitics on the Saint Domingue Plantation

ALAN J. WILLEN MEMORIAL PRIZE
Awarded annually to the Columbia College student who submits the best seminar paper on a contemporary American political problem. The selection is made jointly by representatives of the Departments of History and Political Science. It was established in 1968 by classmates and friends of Alan J. Willen, Class of 1964, in his memory. 

2018 Recipient: Alexandra Fay, for her thesis “‘Crimes of Government’: William Patterson, Civil Rights, and American Criminal Justice

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Departmental Honors are awarded to a graduating history major on the basis of a high average in history courses and an excellent senior thesis. Only ten percent of graduating majors may receive departmental honors.

Please click on each student’s name to download a PDF copy of his or her senior thesis.

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2017–2018 are:

  • Benjamin Arenstein for his thesis: “Scripted History: Hebrew Romanization in Interwar British Mandate Palestine”
  • Pieter Clerger for his thesis: “Beyond Race and Culture: A Comparative Study of the Effect of Economic Conditions on the Development of Identity Among Afro-Caribbean Communities in the United Kingdom and France”
  • Spencer Cohen for his thesis: “A Century of Naval Mythmaking in Tokyo: Remembering the Battle of the Sea of Japan, 1905-2005”
  • Nathan Eckman for his thesis: “A Fleeting, Forgotten, Modus Vivendi: U.S. Foreign Policy and its Perspectives on Revolutionary Iran Before the Hostage Crisis of 1979”
  • Dore Feith for his thesis: “Dueling Ideas of Honor and Anti-Dueling Networks: Moral Reform in Antebellum Charleston and Savannah”
  • Kara Kupferberg for her thesis: “Resistance to Memory: The European Union and Memory of World War II Resistance”
  • Diana Li for her thesis: “Realistically imagining the unimaginable – the civilian strategists crafting nuclear strategies in the Cold War Pentagon”
  • Henry Litwhiler for his thesis: “Crafting the Scholar’s Vocation: Health and Society in the Works of Marsilio Ficino”
  • Benjamin Preneta for his thesis: “Neutrality Uncertain: Ghanaian Peacekeepers in the Congo Crisis”
  • Rachel Sommers for her thesis: “Soviet Orientalism: A New Approach to Understanding Soviet-Middle Eastern Relations in the Interwar Period and Beyond”
  • Emily Yeh for her thesis: “The People’s Institute: Working-Class Immigrant Political Participation, 1897–1917”

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2016–2017 are:

  • Erik Dupire-Nelson for his thesis: “Missed Opportunities on the Riviera: Strategic Decisions by the Western Allies in World War II and the Advent of the Cold War”
  • Daniel Echikson for his thesis: “Sugar Traders, West Indian Slavers, and Corporate Financiers: The Economic History of an American Family at the Turn of the 19th Century”
  • Valerie Fendt for her thesis “Paradigm Shift: The Standing Rock Sioux and the Struggle of Our Time”
  • Peter Giraudo for his thesis: “Divorced From Reality: Giovanni Gentile’s Idealist Political Thought and Fascist Concept of the Nation”
  • Aaron Hansen for his thesis: “Pandering from the Pulpit: Religion and the Pursuit of Happiness in the American Republic, 1789-1825”
  • Danielle Jacobs for her thesis: “The Investment Company Act of 1940: Democratizing Finance in the Fight Against Fascism”
  • Michael Crocitto Kenny for his thesis: “‘A fool a fugitive or a hero’”: The European Odyssey of Herbert L. Matthews, 1931-1945”
  • Jeremy Reeves for his thesis: “The Colonial Eye of Power and Personalized Politics in the Levant Campaign of 1941”
  • Martin Ridge for his thesis: “The Romantic Consciousness: Marxism, Liberalism, and the Education of Marshall Berman, 1961-1970”
  • Brian Solender for his thesis: “‘Farming Don’t Pay:’ The Anatomy of the 19th-Century Western Farm Mortgage Industry”

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2015–2016 are:

  • Maya Barad for her thesis: “Developing Eugenic Consciousness: The Campaign for Voluntary Sterilization of the Mentally Deficient in Interwar Britain”
  • Conor Goetz for his thesis: “‘The Mad and Hungry Dogs:’ The Press and Political Power in the Washington, DC Race Riot of 1919”
  • Maris Hubbard for her thesis: “The Personal is the International: Building a Global Sisterhood in 1990s Belgrade”
  • Sam Preston for his thesis: “The Nazi Atomic Bomb: The Mistaken Assumption that Started the Cold War”
  • Nicolas Sambor for his thesis: “‘Celebrated, Criticized, and Copied Around the World’: The Harvard Economic Service and its Place in 20th Century Economic History”
  • Maxwell Schwartz for his thesis: “The Progressive Democrats of the ‘New Era’: Private Citizens in American-Russian Relations, 1917-1921”
  • Patrick Sherrier for his thesis: “The Power of Music and the Music of Power: ‘Nazi’ Musicians in America, 1945-1949”
  • Harrison Stetler for his thesis: “‘A skilled surgeon presiding at the birth of a new culture’: Christopher Lasch on the Politics of Post-Industrial Society”
  • Ian Trueger for his thesis: “Reading Difference in Inquisition Spain: Pork, Race, and the Specter of the Converso (1430-1527)”
  • Jingwei Xu for his thesis: “‘Scientific Frontier:’ The North-West Frontier, Imperial Intelligence, and the Geopolitics of Empire, 1849-1901”

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2014–2015 are:

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2013–2014 are:

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2012–2013 are:

The recipients of Departmental Honors for 2011–2012 are:


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