Student Prizes & Awards

Earn Recognition for your Writing

The AFAS Undergraduate Essay Prize

The AFAS Undergraduate Essay Prize of $500.00 honors the best essay on any subject related to culture and life of Africans or African-descended people anywhere in the Diaspora. The paper may have its intellectual origins in any disciplinary field in the humanities or social sciences, although it should be intelligible to any external reader.   This competition is open to all Washington University undergraduate students.  Papers should originate as a course assignment or faculty-supervised project in an AFAS core or cross-listed course or independent study.  All submissions require a faculty nomination.  Faculty members may nominate any number of papers they wish.  The essay must be no fewer than five (5) and no more than fifteen (15) double-spaced pages, not including cover page and references, if included.

The AFAS Graduate Essay Prize

The AFAS Graduate Essay Prize of $500.00 honors the best essay on any subject related to culture and life of Africans or African-descended people anywhere in the Diaspora.  The paper can have its intellectual origins in any disciplinary field in the humanities or social sciences, although it should be intelligible to any external reader.  This competition is open to all Washington University graduate students.  Papers may but do not necessarily have to originate as a course assignment or faculty-supervised project. All submissions require a faculty nomination.  Faculty members may sponsor any number of papers. The essay must be no fewer than ten (10) and no more than twenty (20) double-spaced pages, not including cover page and references, if included.

The AFAS Prize for the Best Student Essay in a Foreign Language

The AFAS Prize for the Best Student Essay in a Foreign Language of $500.00 honors the best student writing related to Africa or to African-descended people anywhere in the Diaspora that is written a language other than English.  The paper can have its intellectual origins in any disciplinary field, although it should be intelligible to any external reader familiar with the language in which the paper is written. This competition is open to all Washington University undergraduate and graduate students.  Papers may but do not necessarily have to originate as a course assignment or faculty-supervised project and can be in any language that is taught at Washington University.  All submissions require a faculty nomination.  Faculty members may nominate any number of papers. The essay must be no fewer than five (5) and no more than twelve (12) double-spaced pages, not including cover page and references, if included.

 

Submission Guidelines

Failure to follow instructions may result in the disqualification of your submission. 

  1. Complete the submission form and include it as a cover sheet. 
  2. There must not be any information in or on the actual manuscript that identifies the author.
  3. The Undergraduate Essay must originate as a course assignment or faculty-supervised project in an AFAS core or cross-listed course or independent study.
  4. All pages must be typed, double-spaced, and single-sided.
  5. Upload your manuscript and completed form below. 
     

 

Past Winners

2015 Prize Winners

James Baldwin Prize Winner
Rahmi Elahjii, “What am I doing here?: Black Vietnam Veterans, Mental Disorders and Political Radicalization” (Mustakeem, instructor)

Julius Nyerere Prize Winner
Jenna Epstein, “The Internal Identity Struggle for Senegalese-American Muslim Youth in Harlem” (Diallo, instructor)

 

2014 Prize Winners

James Baldwin Essay Prize Winner 
Gabriella Alvarez, "The Land of the Free – For Some: The United States as a Racial Democracy"

Julius Nyerere Essay Prize Winner
Reuben Riggs, "West African Sufism in Context: Understanding the ‘Mystical Islam’"

Louis Lomax Journalism Prize Winner
Michele Hall, "Wash U’s Model Minority"

 

2013 Prize Winners

James Baldwin Essay Prize Winner 
Joshua Smith, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Black Vietnam Veterans: A Study of Racial Tensions, War, and Mental Illness"

Julius Nyerere Essay Prize Winner
Andreya Soleyn, "Restructured:  How Colonialism Influenced the Spread of Islam and Changing Class of Women in West Africa"

Henry Hampton Prize Winner
Kelsey Times, "The Problem We All Live With"
 

2012 Prize Winners

The James Baldwin Prize
Brandon Wilson, “The Black Rebel in Union Garb"

The Julius Nyerere Prize
Blair Sackett, “Resiliency Through Hardship: Somali Refugees & Agency in the Dadaab Camp"
Bryn Cranmer, “Shedding Light on Developing a Renewable Senegal”

The Louis Lomax Journalism Prize
Brandon Wilson, “The Necessity of Black Studies”