Honors & Prizes

Honors Program in Africana Studies

An honors thesis or project, undertaken with the permission of the program chair and mentoring faculty, is an option for students who wish to conduct advanced research and study. A student wishing to do honors must complete an “Honors Dossier” during the Winter Study term and Spring semester of their Senior Year. This Dossier is comprised of three linked essays. Students may begin the project with two essays written for Africana Studies courses and, under their advisor’s guidance complete additional research, incorporate instructor feedback, and substantially re-write and expand these two papers. The third essay must be a new work, written specifically for the Honors project. Students must also write a substantive introduction that explains the theme (theoretical, geographic, chronological etc.) that connects the three essays. The introduction should address the significance of the theme to the interdisciplinary study of the peoples and cultures of the African diaspora. It should also explain the logic of the three papers and how they work together. Dossiers will be due in mid-April (after Spring Break). Under some circumstances, a student may want to include a record of a performance or piece of visual art in the Dossier. In this case, a written analysis and explanation should accompany that piece. The total Honors Dossier should consist of no less than 45 pages of written work.

Students should submit a proposal for an Honors Dossier in the fall semester of their Senior year, no later than mid-October. See the Dossier Guidelines. They may draw on papers written in Africana courses during any semester including the fall semester of their Senior Year. Students may petition to include a paper written for a course outside of the Africana curriculum. Africana faculty will meet late in the fall semester to approve or decline Honors Dossier proposals. Students whose proposals are approved will be assigned an advisor and should register for W31-AFR 494 in the winter study/spring of the Senior Year.

At the Honors presentation night in the spring, each Honors student will prepare and give an oral defense of their dossier. During the defense, students will present the key points their overarching project and field questions from select faculty and student critics, all of whom will have read the dossier.

An honors project should demonstrate creativity, depth, and intellectual rigor. Honors candidates are encouraged to pursue non-traditional projects, such as presentations in the performing arts, visual arts, or creative writing, as well as more conventional research projects.

Africana Studies Program Theses

2016

Sharldline Desire, “People Get Ready: Centering Black Voices in the Affirmation of Black Lives” [Advisor, James Manigault-Bryant]

Ahmad Greene-Hayes, “Black Pentecostal Touch: Queerantagonism and (Un)Holy Hands” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

Logan Lawson, “Food Freedom through Black Agrarian Love: Liberating Black Bodies from Food Oppression and the Global Corporate Food Regime via Collective Eco-memory” [Advisor, Neil Roberts]

Olivia Polk, “Faggots, Femmes, and Other Tales from Beyond the Black Studies Archive: A critical Study of Un-Incorporated Difference” [Advisors, James Manigault-Bryant and Margaux Cowden]

Cinnamon Williams, “Black Women’s Blueprints: Legacies of the Erotic and the Scripting of Southern, Black Pleasure” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

2015

Sevonna M. Brown, “Wom(b)anism, Maternal Survival, and Intersections of Black Women’s Liberation” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

Amber Ellis, “Being Black in Appalachia: African Americans in the Mountain South” [Advisor, Candis Watts Smith]

Veroneque Ignace, “Healing through dance: an autobiographical journey of a Black Haitian woman at Williams College” [Advisors, Shanti Singham and Sarah Burton]

Tirhakah Love, “The Unsung: Tales of Hip-Hop in the Neoliberal Era” [Advisor, James Manigault-Bryant]

Medina Mody-Fitzmaurice, “Moments of Race Experiences by Asian American Adoptees” [Advisors, Neil Roberts and Reginold Royston]

2014

Kenny Jean, “Reflections of a Haitian American: Politics, Testimony and Cultural Agency” [Advisor, Shanti Singham]

Jallicia Jolly, “Dare to Survive: Gendered and Cultural Survival Strategies  of the Africana Diaspora” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

2013

Jade Carter, “Moving 4Ward: Gentrification & Renaissance in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

Nneka Dennie, “Black Patriarchy, Black Women, and Black Progress: An Analysis of W.E.B. Du Bois and Anna Julia Cooper” [Advisor, Neil Roberts]

Ivory Goudy, “(Re)Evaluating the 13th Amendment’s Duly Convicted Clause: A Study of its Historical Legacy and Contemporary Significance to African American Communities” [Advisor, James Manigault-Bryant]

Nykeah Parham, “Let’s Make a Mulatto: A Guide to Swirling” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

Don Polite, Jr., “Arturo A. Schomburg: Redefined Revolutionary Afro-Puerto-Rican Black Historian” [Advisor, Leslie Brown]

2012

Noluthando Bridget Ngcobo, “Your Silence Will Not Protect You: (Re) presenting Resilience – The Black South African Lesbian; Activism and the Individual” [Advisor, Rhon Manigault-Bryant]

2011

Jacquelin Denise Magby, “Swagger Like Us:  Youth, Urban Brands, and Class Consciousness in Chicago” [Advisor, James Manigault-Bryant]

2010

Tony Coleman, “Reconciliatory Multiculturalism: A Theory of Black Inclusion” [Advisor, Neil Roberts]

Claire Schwartz, “The Radical Politics of Breast Cancer Subjectivities, or Something like a Red Flag for Audre Lorde, Pat Parker, and June Jordan” [Advisor, Vince Schleitwiler]

2009

Anisha Warner, “Reflections on Migratory Subjectivity: Caribbean Women Writers and a Plural Conception of Identity” [Advisor, Stephane Robolin]

PRIZES

The Africana Studies Program awards three prizes annually, one for academic excellence – the Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies, one for excellence in the Arts – the Ernest Brown Africana Arts Prize, and the other for leadership – the Sterling A. Brown Award.  The Ernest Brown prize was created in the Spring of 2012 to honor the memory of recently deceased and beloved colleague Ernest Brown.  A fuller description of these prizes can be found below, following the list of recent prizewinners.

2015-2016

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Logan Lawson
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Ahmad Greene-Hayes
The Ernest Brown Africana Arts Award — Naomi Fields

2014-2015

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Sevonna Brown
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Sevonna Brown
The Ernest Brown Africana Arts Award — Veroneque Ignace

2013-2014

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Jallicia Jolly
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Tre’dez Colbert
The Ernest Brown Africana Arts Award — Demaris Edwards and Kenny Jean

2012-2013

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Ivory Goudy
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Nneka Dennie
The Ernest Brown Africana Arts Award — Nykeah Parham

2011-2012

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Bridget Ngcobo
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Daquan Mickens and Brian Thomas
The Ernest Brown Africana Arts Award — Jonayah (Jo) Jackson

2010-2011

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Jacquelyn Magby
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Courtney ‘Coco’ Smith

2009-2010

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Tony Coleman and Claire Schwartz
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Janay Clyde

2008-2009

The Gaius C. Bolin 1889 Prize in Africana Studies — Annette N.K. Quarcoopome and Anisha Nakisha Warner
The Sterling A. Brown 1922 Citizenship Award — Shayla S. Williams

AFRICANA PRIZES

ERNEST BROWN AFRICANA ARTS PRIZE

In appreciation of Ernest Brown’s steadfast and inspired service to Africana Studies as a Professor, as Director of the Zambezi Marimba Band and  as Co-Director of Kusika, this cash prize is given to a senior whose work has shown unusual brilliance, imagination, and industry in the arts, especially the performing arts. Established in the Spring of 2012.

STERLING A. BROWN, 1922, CITIZENSHIP PRIZE

Initially established in 1974 by three members of the Class of 1974 and carried on by the Afro-American Studies Program, this prize honors Sterling A. Brown, Class of 1922, retired Professor of English at Howard University. Awarded to the graduating senior whose undergraduate experience reflects outstanding leadership and involvement in campus affairs, academic achievement, and communication of new ideas, with preference to be given to members of the Black Student Union.

GAIUS C. BOLIN, 1889, PRIZE IN AFRICANA STUDIES

A cash prize established in memory of the first black graduate of Williams and prominent Poughkeepsie lawyer, for the best scholarly work submitted by a Williams’ undergraduate in the field of Africana Studies.