Ashley Daltrey, James Macnee and Sabrina Jonkhoff are the first recipients of the Outstanding Essay in the Humanities award.
The prize for Outstanding Essay in the Humanities was conferred for the first time during Honors Convocation 2014 to three graduating seniors at the University.
Candidates were invited to submit their thesis, capstone, or senior project for consideration to the award committee which looked for a project that “touches deeply on the central concerns of the humanities and reflects substantial research, analytical, or interpretive work.”
In the letter from the Humanities Advisory Board, awardees were congratulated on their dedication to the projects and contributions to the humanities at the University of Redlands.
“This prize is meant to honor students who have shown a high level of professionalism while engaging with scholarship in the field, undertaken bold and innovative research and sophisticated analysis in new areas, and shown exceptional grasp of methodological and theoretical issues in the field.”
Sabrina Jonkhoff ‘14 received the award for her honors thesis, “Whatever Floats Your Boat: Transformations, Violations, and Coercions of Bodies at Sea, 1700-1800.” Committee members said Sabrina impressed them with her research on the history of women at sea, which included cross-dressed pirates, passenger women and slave women.
Dr. Matthew Raffety worked extensively with Sabrina on her project.
“In its fusing of two complex historiographies: one about the shifting conceptions of Early Modern gender and the other of the rise of a new “Atlantic” world of goods, ideas, and empires …, her work accomplishes something both quite original and deeply engaged with the existing scholarly conversations.”
Sabrina graduated with a double major in history and women’s and gender studies and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
She said, “…in a time where the humanities seems ever under-fire in a world dominated by the growth of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), it not only special, but important, to be recognized for significant work in the humanities.”
James Macnee ’14 received the award for his honors thesis in religious studies, “Three Buddhas: An Analysis of Namthars in the Kagyu Lineage.” The committee remarked particularly on James’ treatment of primary texts in the Buddhist tradition, his connections between texts across historical periods, and his original argument in the area of religious studies.
For his senior thesis, James focused on three sacred biographies of great saints from the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. His project investigates the hagiographies of Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa.
“Studying with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Jimmy observed the living importance of the life stories of the spiritual masters of the lineage,” said Dr. Karen Derris, who advised James on the project.
“Surrounded by paintings of these figures and hearing stories from their sacred biographies interwoven with present day teachings, Jimmy insightfully understood the central importance of individual genius within a tradition that very much emphasizes connections to community. His honors project took up this productive paradox through close textual analysis of three spiritual biographies of the founders of the Karma Kagyu lineage. His original arguments raise new insights on intertextual analysis for the field of Tibetan studies in particular and for the study of religious biographies in religious studies more broadly.”
When James isn’t working academically, he is busy with community service through his fraternity Chi Rho Psi.
“My senior project is the culmination of my academic career,” James said, “and an extension the work I have done most my life. To receive recognition for this work is extremely flattering and is a very fortunate form of closure to my undergraduate life.”
Ashley Daltrey ’14 received the award for her honors thesis in French, “Une Marche Vers Le Bien: Les Misérables et L'idée du progress,” which roughly translates as “A march towards the good: Les Miserables and the idea of progress.” The board noted that Ashley’s rereading of passages often overlooked by scholars of Victor Hugo makes a compelling contribution to undergraduate research. And, her ability to compose the paper in French, a second language, was equally impressive. Associate Professor Frank Bright advised Ashley on her project. “Her study, written in French, argued that the work's narratorial digressions play a central role in the novel's depiction of personal and historical progress.”
Ashley graduated as a double major in French and international relations. She is a Proudian scholar and member of the history honors society Phi Alpha Theta. When she isn’t studying, Ashley volunteers at an equestrian therapy center for mentally and physically disabled kids.
She said, “It is exciting that a paper in a foreign language is able to get this kind of recognition, and I hope it encourages students in the future to also write in their second language.”
Posted: May 16, 2014