Rhodes Alumnus Takes American Historical Association’s Top Prize for Undergraduate Research
Publication Date: 11/9/2011
The American Historical Association (AHA), the oldest and largest professional organization for historians in the United States, has awarded Daniel Williford ’11 its top prize for undergraduate research for 2011. Williford and his faculty mentor, Dr. Etty Terem, will be recognized at the upcoming AHA annual meeting in Chicago in January 2012.
Williford’s prize-winning paper, “Colonial Narratives: Visions of Pre-Islamic Algeria in the Revue Africaine, 1870-1896,” examines the impact that the intertwined relationship between knowledge and power had on the production of French colonial scholarship in Algeria during the last decades of the 19th century. Based on a close reading of essays and articles published in the French periodical, La Revue Africaine, Williford’s essay also focuses on the way in which French scholars went about constructing Algeria’s pre-Islamic history.
A history and French double major, Williford originally wrote the paper for Prof. Terem’s seminar, “Colonial Encounters in North Africa.” At Terem’s urging, Williford submitted the piece to the Rhodes Historical Review, which published it in volume 13 of the journal last spring. The Department of History then nominated the essay for the AHA’s Raymond J. Cunningham Prize, which is given each year for the best article by an undergraduate published in a history department journal. The winning author and the winning journal each receive a monetary prize.
At last spring’s Rhodes commencement, Williford received the Peyton Nalle Rhodes Phi Beta Kappa Prize, given to the graduating senior who exemplifies the highest qualities of achievement, creativity and commitment to the liberal arts and sciences. Williford also won the Department of History’s 2011 Douglas W. Hatfield Award, given to a senior major for outstanding undergraduate research in history.
A Memphis native, Williford currently is in Paris, where he is participating in a month-long intensive English language teaching certification program. He hopes to spend time teaching English in North Africa before entering a graduate program in history next year.