History Prizes

  • The Alfred F. Havighurst Prize in History
  • The Asa J. Davis Prize for Academic Distinction in the History of Africa and the Black Diaspora
  • The Fredrick L. Cheyette Prize
  • The John Petropulos Prize in Historical Scholarship

The Alfred F. Havighurst Prize in History

The Alfred F. Havighurst Prize in History, established in June 1970 and intended for the purchase of books, is awarded to the History major who, in the opinion of the History faculty, has, in his or her four years at Amherst College, best fulfilled the standards of excellence and humane scholarship exemplified by Alfred F. Havighurst during his many years of teaching at Amherst.

2023: Theo Hamilton, Meenakshi Jani, Tessa Levenstein
2022: Dean Gordon
2021: Benjamin Gilsdorf
2020: Heather D. Brennan and Rebecca A. Davis
2019: Esther Isaac
2018:  Michael A. Bessey / Shantanu S. Havaldar / Nolan L. Lindquist
2017:  Siyu Feng (2017E) / Brittanie L. Lewis
2016:  Shyiyan (Nancy) Chen / Demetrius Q. Shahmehri
2015:  Leah L. Thompson
2014:  Hannah M. Greenwald / Yi (Louis) Lu
2013:  James W. Fromson
2012:  Susannah E. Rudel
2011:  Roman Gautam / Nicole P. Krensky
2010:  Mason S. Bradbury / Jessica A. Sleevi
2009:  Michael D. Neff / Emily G. Wright
2008:  Carmine B. Grimaldi / Ross M. Wolfarth
2007:  Christopher J. Forney / Catherine Claire Macdonald (2007E)

The Asa J. Davis Prize for Academic Distinction in the History of Africa and the Black Diaspora

The Asa J. Davis Prize is given each year to a student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the study of the history of Africa and the Black Diaspora and whose work best reflects the comprehensive interest of Asa Davis in historical and cultural contacts between Africa, the Old World and the Americas.

2023: Ethan Fine, Jack Stephens
2022: Joelle Crichlow, Ilyssa Forman-Roberts and Anya Ramras
2021: Natalie De Rosa
2020: Charlotte Blackman and Elinor S. Boynton
2019:  Bryan Miller
2018:  Adele K. Loomis / Max G. Steinhorn
2017:  Laura K. Noerdlinger / Caryce C. Tirop
2016:  Alexis Teyie
2015:  Emma H. Hutchins
2014:  Tiffany A. Arnold
2013:  Aubrey L. Jones / Sophia Meyerson
2012:  Melissa J. Greenberg / Jaclyn A. Tran
2011:  Kristen A. Ahye / Ashley B. Humber
2010:  Julia C. Merrill / Juliet M. Silberstein
2009:  Erin A. Sullivan / Yuepeng (YP) Zheng
2008:  Jacob C. (Jake) Goldberg
2007:  Jordan E. McKay

The Fredrick L. Cheyette Prize

The Fredrick L. Cheyette Prize was established in 2016 to honor the History major who, in the course of the current academic year, has made the greatest contribution to the intellectual community of the department and/or the campus as a whole. It is named in honor of the late Professor Fredrick L. Cheyette, who taught medieval history at Amherst from 1963 to 2005. 

2023: Joseph Fattorusso, Jack Stephens
2022: Edmund Kennedy and Ilyssa Forman-Roberts
2021: Anna Agathis and Enoch Shin
2020: Charlotte Blackman and Matt Yarnall
2019: Katherine M. Savage
2018: Jamie M. McNamara / Katherine M. Savage
2016: Matthew A. Randolph

The John Petropulos Prize in Historical Scholarship

John Petropulos was for many years a significant voice both as a scholar and as a teacher in the History Department. His research ranged widely across the Mediterranean Basin into Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and his teaching crossed regional boundaries as well. In memory of John Petropulos’s scholarship and pedagogical enthusiasm, the History Department awards a yearly prize for the best research paper (usually written in the context of a seminar) that conforms to the department’s guidelines for research papers. The papers will be judged on (1) use of primary sources; (2) command of the field; (3) understanding of historical method; and (4) stylistic elegance.

Papers to be considered for the prize must be nominated by the supervising professors, and the selection of the prizewinner will be made by an ad hoc committee of History Department faculty. Research papers prepared for any Amherst College history course in the fall and spring semesters are eligible.

2023: Isaac Bindman '24. "Violence, Religion, and Portugal: European Arrival in the Indian Ocean Put in Context." Written for Professor Mekhola Gomes' course The Indian Ocean World (HIST-472), Fall 2022.

2023: Jeffrey Ma '24. "Hui Identity, Chinese Nation." Written for Professor Adi Gordon and Professor Alexander Semyonov's course On Nationalism (HIST-419), Fall 2022.

2022: Haoran Tong '23. "Bubble Tea Across the Taiwan Strait: The Metamorphosis and Metanarratives of a Chinese Beverage, 1980-2020." Written for Professor Edward Melillo's course Commodities, Nature and Society (HIST-411), Spring 2022.

2021: Jack Stephens '23. "Turning Point or Pointless Violence? The Silencing of the Angolan War and the Destruction of Hope." Written for Professor Sean Redding's course Riot and Rebellion in Colonial and Post-colonial Africa (HIST-488), Spring 2021.

2020: Natalie De Rosa '21. "The First Lady of the Black (Man's) Press: A Reexamination of Ethel Payne's Work and Legacy from 1951-1956." Written for Professor Jen Manion's course Race, Gender, and Sexuality in U.S. History (HIST-436), Fall 2019.

2019: Mayrose Beatty '20. "'A brilliant and incomprehensible anomaly'?: The Reception of Middle-Class Female Criminality in Victorian British Culture." Written for Professor Ellen Boucher's course Gender, Class and Crime: the Victorian Underworld (HIST-432), Spring 2019.

2018:  Saharsha Karki '18. "Discipline, Autonomy, and Reformation in the Gorky Colony: The Pedagogy of Anton S." Written for Professor Sergey Glegov's course Revolutionary Utopia (HIST-445), Spring 2018.

2018:  Katherine M. Savage '19. "WWII Reconciliation in Singapore: Forgiving or Forgetting?" Written for Professor Trent Maxey's course Asia-Pacific War (HIST-477), Spring 2018.

2017:  Yvonne P. Green '17. "Whose Turkish?: Populism, 'Democratization' of Language, and National Identity between Ataturk and Erdogan." Written for Professor Monica Ringer's course Turkey: From Ataturk to Erdogan (HIST-493), Spring 2017.

2016:  Rosemary A. Frehe '17. "Forging the Czech National Identity: The Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora." Written for Professor Adi Gordon's course On Nationalism (HIST-419), Spring 2016.   

2015:  Sophie Murguia '15. "Anonymity and Power in Victorian Journalism: A Case Study." Written for Professor Ellen Boucher's course Victorian Underworld (HIST-493), Spring 2015.

2014:  Dylan Vasey. "'Most People Were Silent': The Commodity Fetishism of Uranium during the Manhattan Project." Written for Professor Ted Melillo's course Commodities, Nature and Society.