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The Society for the History of Discoveries Student Prize

The Society for the History of Discoveries announces its 2018 Student Prize for best student research paper in the history of geographic discoveries. Founded in 1960, the purpose of the Society is to stimulate teaching, research, and publishing in the history of geographical exploration. We now call for research papers on voyages, travels, biography, history, cartography, the technologies of travel, the impact of travel and cultural exchange, and other aspects of geographic discovery. The primary purpose is to enlighten the reader about some aspect of the geographic exploration of our physical world.

Noam Sienna is a graduate student in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota. He also is a henna artist, studying its history and traditions. He is interested in Jewish history in the Mediterranean world, Jewish-Muslim relations, and Mediterranean culture in the early modern period, including the history of the book and the transmission of knowledge. His prize-winning paper, "The Ways of the World: Thomas Hyde’s 1691 Printing of Farissol’s Iggeret Orḥot ‘Olam," discusses how this important 16th-century Hebrew manuscript came to be published by Oxford University in Latin translation. Iggeret Orḥot ‘Olam (The Ways of the World, 1534) is a geographic compilation, and includes discussions of the seven climatic zones and the continents, speculations on the location of the Biblical Garden of Eden and of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and descriptions of Italian and Portuguese explorations in the Indian Ocean, as well as the information about the new discoveries in the Atlantic and sailing directions for traveling from Italy to Egypt and also to northern Europe. Avraham Farissol was a rabbi and philosopher; Sienna sees this work as an attempt to open the new developments of secular Renaissance science and geography to a Jewish reading public.

Who is Eligible:  Students from any part of the globe currently enrolled in a college or university degree program and who will not have received a doctoral degree prior to 15 May 2018. Note:  Graduating high school or college students accepted into a program but who do not begin classes until fall are NOT eligible.

The Research Paper:  An eligible research paper shall be original and unpublished, written in English, between 3,000 and 8,000 words, plus footnotes or endnotes.  Papers written for college or university class assignments are encouraged.  A reasonable amount of illustrative and tabular material will be welcome, but is not required. 
      Paper formatting:  The paper should be typed using a standard serif font (Times, Palatino, Century) and double-spaced.  All pages should be numbered in the upper right hand corner.  All papers should include either endnotes or footnotes.  Papers should not have parenthetical references, that is, citation information in parentheses in the body of the paper.  Do not include your name anywhere but on the cover sheet.
      Cover Sheet:  All papers must have a cover sheet that includes the following information:  full name, postal address, e-mail address, phone number, the name of the college or university you attend, your academic department, and your current student status – for example:  2nd year undergraduate; 1st year MA; PhD candidate; ABD.

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: Essays must be postmarked on or before May 15, 2018.

Submission Deadline:  15 May 2018
Electronic submissions only to:
Dr. Anne Good, committee
Subject line:  SHD Student Prize

Questions?  Contact Dr. Good, committee

Evaluation Criteria:

All papers will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the Society for the History of Discoveries. The panel’s decision will be final and will be announced on the SHD website after June 15, 2018.  The committee reserves the right to award no prize based on the quality of the submissions, and in the event of a tie, the committee may decide to award two prizes.

Specific criteria:
•    Originality
•    Contribution to new knowledge or insights
•    Relevance to the subject
•    Cogency of the argument and appropriateness of the documentation
•    Quality of writing (including grammar and spelling, as well as style)

    Note:  Submissions will be disqualified if a) the author is not eligible per the criteria noted above; b) the paper is not relevant to the history of discoveries as outlined above or to the general history of geographic exploration; c) the ideas and quotations in the paper that are not the authors’ are not adequately cited (footnotes/endnotes). Due to the number of submissions, we will not make notifications of disqualifications without enquiry.

The awardee will receive a prize of $600.00 (US) and will be invited to make an oral presentation about the paper at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries.  The 2018 conference will be held in Golden, CO from September 20-23, 2018.  Information about participation in the conference will be provided to the awardee upon notification of the award.  Acceptance of the prize is not contingent upon your ability to attend the conference.  Additionally, the awardee will be invited to submit the winning paper to the society’s peer-reviewed journal, Terrae Incognitae, for which it will undergo the usual review process prior to formal acceptance for publication, for which there is no guarantee.

Recent Prize Awardees & Their Papers:

2015  Felipe Fernandes Cruz."Napalm Colonization: Indigenous Peoples and Exploration in Brazil's Aeronautical Frontiers."
2014  Josephine Benson (Brown University), “New Worlds, New Germs: The Role of European Expansion in the Development of Germ Theory.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 47.1 (2015).
2013  Joshua Michael Marcotte (University of Minnesota), “Culture, Contact and the Agency of Appropriation in a 1741 Map of Nagasaki.” Published in Terrae Incognitae46.1 (2014).
2012  Justin T. Dellinger (University of Texas, Arlington), “La Balise: A Transimperial Focal Point.”

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