2007 Prize Winners

Cécile Evers Slave Language Acquisition in the 18th Century, Gobernación of Chocó, Colombia
Ashley Aubuchon A Means to an End: The Role of Religion in Eastern State Penitentiary during "The Experiment"
Michael Uy The Baroque Viola and Improvisational Style
Sarah Stoller Amos n' Andy: Revolution or Regression: Controversy and the Formation of African American Identity


Cécile Evers
"Slave Language Acquisition in the 18th Century, Gobernación of Chocó, Colombia"
History/International and Area Studies
William Taylor, Professor, History
Alan Karras, Lecturer, International and Area Studies

Cécile Evers' research project, "Slave Language Acquisition in the 18th Century, Gobernación of Chocó, Colombia", was developed as an honors thesis for her International and Area Studies 102 course. Her paper tackles an intriguing question that has largely been sidestepped in recent ethno-linguist debates: Why were Creole languages-those languages resulting from prolonged contact between indigenous peoples and European colonists-consistently absent from Spanish colonies in the Americas? Cécile's particular focus of study was on the plantation and mining zones in the Choco region of Colombia. In addition to exploring the rich collections of primary and secondary materials in the Berkeley library, her research included a five-week visit to Colombia. During this time she scoured the archives of the Colombian National Library and several privately-held collections, along with consulting with Colombian scholars and researchers on her topic. This research abroad has both informed and expanded her continuing work in the Berkeley library upon her return.

Her advisor in the History Department notes that Cécile's project has "the makings of an ambitious doctoral dissertation, but even a preliminary entry of the kind [she] achieves is suggestive and fruitful, thanks to her knowledge of languages…[her] resourcefulness in tracking down sources and informants, and her understanding of the issues at stake. She has the basis for a significant entry into…[a]contested field of study [and] has been invited to present her findings to an international symposium in Amsterdam-a wonderful opportunity for her and an affirmation of the importance of the project and promise of her work."

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Ashley Aubuchon
"A Means to an End: The Role of Religion in Eastern State Penitentiary during 'The Experiment'"
History
Waldo Martin, Professor, History

In her History 101 project entitled "A Means to an End: The Role of Religion in Eastern State Penitentiary during 'The Experiment'", Ashley Aubuchon investigates the crucial and novel ways in which religion helped to define the rhetoric of prison experience, as well as a substantial part of the prison experience itself in Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary between the years of 1829 and 1849. Her project makes ample and effective use of some of the more obscure and fascinating primary resources in the Doe Library, the Environmental Design Library, and Boalt Library, including annual reports of the Penitentiary inspectors and chaplains, state penal statutes, articles in contemporary journals and newspapers, and various accounts of contemporary visitors to the prison, including Charles Dickens and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Her advisor praises Ashley's "fine and evolving historical sensibility," her "ability to carve out of this massive body of material a well-designed and very smart historical essay," and her ability to find her "own historiographical and critical voice within a variety of literatures."

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Michael Uy
"The Baroque Viola and Improvisational Style"
Music
Davitt Moroney, Professor, Music

For his Music 195 honors project, "The Baroque Viola and Improvisational Style," Michael Uy, a viola player himself, attempted to solve an intriguing historical and artistic puzzle regarding the role of his instrument in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: although violas often participated in larger ensembles during this period, there are no parts written for them by composers. So what did viola players play?

In order to solve this riddle, Michael plunged into secondary and primarily literature on the baroque viola. Perhaps most central to his research was the discovery of the Tartini Collection, an important collection of nearly 3000 unique and unpublished manuscripts of 18th Century Italian string music. Michael used this collection to analyze when and how composers used viola parts during the Baroque era. To aid him in his research, Michael took the remarkable step of acquiring a baroque viola and bow in order to participate in the University Baroque Ensemble. His advisor comments that purchasing the instrument "is comparable to a scientist acquiring the technical equipment related to a specific piece of research in the lab," and that playing in the Ensemble has served as a "larger living laboratory for his experiments."

As an offshoot of his research in the Tartini collection, Michael became interested in a rare, mid-18th Century score by Vincenzo Marcelli and transcribed the original notation into modern musical notation. He is preparing to perform the piece with the Ensemble. His advisor has noted that "In this way, a musical work preserved in the UCB Library, a piece that has lain dormant for hundreds of years, will now receive its first modern performance…and will be ready for publication.

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Sarah Stoller
"Amos n' Andy: Revolution or Regression: Controversy and the Formation of African American Identity"
Music
Leon Litwack, Professor, History
Felicia Angeja Viator, GSI, History

Sarah Stoller's project entitled "Amos n' Andy: Revolution or Regression: Controversy and the Formation of African American Identity" was done for her History 7B class this semester. In the paper, Sarah investigates the development of the popular Amos n' Andy radio series created and performed by white actors Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll in the 1930s and 40s, as well as the 1950s television show based on this series. She investigates the varying responses of both the white and African American communities to these shows, focusing particularly on the various protests against the stereotypical characters in the show that arose in the black press at the time. To develop her paper, Sarah utilized a wide variety of primary sources, including documentary film, videos of the television show, radio recreations of the series, and an extensive array of articles found in African American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender and Abbott's Monthly. Her graduate student instructor for the course has commented that "For many students in lower division survey courses…this type of research can seem wholly daunting. I have found that most students are able to work through those concerns and meet the requirements, but few approach the project wholeheartedly, seeking not simply to meet requirements, but to find their own way to make history tangible. Sarah Stoller, in her first year at UC Berkeley, is already one of those students."