Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Rachael McCracken, who graduated from Amherst College last year with a degree in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought (LJST), has received the 2005 Law and Society Association Undergraduate Paper Prize, awarded to an undergraduate student whose paper best represents outstanding law and society research. McCracken's honors thesis, for which she was awarded a degree summa cum laude, was Inside Out and Upside Down in Indian Country: Law's Colonization of the Native Nations.
David Delaney, a visiting assistant professor of LJST and McCracken's advisor at Amherst, wrote that her honors thesis was an outstanding example of undergraduate scholarship, the result of a sustained high level of research into a complex area of American law and of independent field interviews with members of the Little Shell people in her home state of Montana. The thesis deftly combines historical narrative, legal analysis and normative argument. It is a well organized, well written, thorough and ultimately compelling study of the continuing effects of colonialist thought in the workings of law in connection with indigenous peoples.
The Law and Society Association, founded in 1964, is a group of scholars from many fields and countries, interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life. Members bring training in law, sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, economics, and history as well as in other related areas to the study of socio-legal phenomena. The association offers annual awards to an undergraduate student and a graduate student whose papers best represent outstanding law and society research, in the interdisciplinary tradition of law and society research, and reflects the style of articles in the Law & Society Review. The work examines law in culture and society, including interpretative, historical, social scientific and jurisprudential scholarship.
LJST students from Amherst College who previously won the award are Cliff Rosky '96 in 1997, Emily Glasgow '98 in 1999 and Rachel Burson '00 in 2001. No other undergraduate institution has won this award more than twice.