McJimsey Student Essay Award Winners

2021: Gettysburg College & Ohio Wesleyan University

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled: “Strangers in a Strange Land: Translating Catholicism in Early Modern Japan,” written by Christopher Lough (’22), history and French double major at Gettysburg College. His faculty advisor for the essay is Dina Lowy, Associate Professor of History. The winning essay will be published in a forthcoming issue of ASIANetwork Exchange. 

The first runner-up paper is “The Tale of Genji and the Purple Floral Metaphors,” by My Ta (’21), mathematics major at Ohio Wesleyan University. Her faculty advisor is Anne Sokolsky, Professor of Comparative Literature. 

 

 

 

 

2020: The College of Idaho & Valparaiso University

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled:  “The Dara’ang and the Art of Becoming Governed,” written by Kaytlyn Marcotte (’19), Gavin McCaw (’20), and Marine Vieille (’20), all International Political Economy majors, as part of their 2018 Student Faculty Fellows project under the direction of Rob Dayley, professor of International Political Economy and Asian Studies. The essay will be published in a forthcoming issue of ASIANetwork Exchange and presented at the 2020 ASIANetwork Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio, April 17-19, 2020.

The runner-up paper is “A Thief in the Night: The Origin and Forms of the Japanese Phantom Thief,” written by Kate Mitchell (’20), Chinese and Japanese Studies major at Valparaiso University. Her faculty advisor for the essay is Jennifer Prough, Associate Professor of Humanities and East Asian Studies. The essay will be presented at the 2020 ASIANetwork Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio, April 17-19, 2020.

2019: Barnard College & University of Maryland, Baltimore County

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled: “Plurality within Singularity: Choson Korea’s Neo-Confucian Framework,” written by Ariella Napoli (’20), East Asian Studies and Religion major at Barnard College. Her faculty advisor for the essay is Professor Jungwon Kim.  The essay will be published in a forthcoming issue of ASIANetwork Exchange and presented at the 2019 ASIANetwork Annual Conference at the University of San Diego, April 12-14, 2019.

The runner-up paper is “Democracy Suppressed Allied Censorship in Occupied Japan, 1945-52,” written by Julian Tash (’18), Asian Studies and History major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His faculty advisors for the essay are Constantine Vaporis and Meredith Oyen.

Ariella Napoli. “Plurality within Singularity: Choson Korea’s Neo-Confucian Framework.” This paper argues that while there was no singular, cohesive, “national identity” in the modern sense in Chosŏn Korea, the elitist Neo-Confucian framework served as a basis for establishing an overarching identity on the Korean Peninsula as every other identity defined itself through its relationship to the prominent Neo-Confucian framework. In order to accomplish this, this paper analyses the way in which two marginalized groups – Buddhist institutions and the Catholic Church – defined themselves and developed identities based around the Neo-Confucian framework. By demonstrating that these two marginalized groups had no choice but to define themselves in terms of the Neo-Confucian framework, it is clear that this framework created an elitist identity that was built around its intellectual culture.   

Julian Tash. “Democracy Suppressed Allied Censorship in Occupied Japan, 1945-52.” This research traces the development of Allied censorship during the occupation of Japan (1945-52) to investigate how and why the Allied powers, nominally working in tandem but in practice largely led by the United States, instituted extensive censorship despite the occupation goal of fostering Japanese democracy. By combining censored books, newspapers, and magazines with documentation from the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, this paper argues that ambiguous operational policy and American security concerns resulted in an expansive bureaucracy that operated far beyond the initial weeks of the Occupation. Censorship has thus contributed to an uneasy legacy for an occupation that promoted some genuinely liberal policies such as freeing the Japanese press from formal control by the government, while also reinforcing the idea that self-censorship, uniformity, and acquiescence to the ruling powers were necessary even within a democracy.

2018: Pomona College and Elon University

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled “(In)visible Bodies: Re-theorizing the Consumption of Bodies through Divine Possession in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka,” written by Olivia Dure, 2017 Pomona College graduate with a major in Religion/Religious Studies. Her faculty advisor for the essay is Erin Runions, Professor and Chair of Religious Studies. The essay will also be published in a forthcoming issue of ASIANetwork Exchange.


The Runner-up paper is “India’s Endangered Parsis: State Secularism and Population Policy in Comparative Perspective,” written by Emily McHugh, 2017 Elon University graduate with a major in Policy Studies. Her faculty advisor for the essay is Amy Allocco, Associate Professor of Religious Studies.

Olivia Dure.  “(In)visible Bodies: Re-theorizing the Consumption of Bodies through Divine Possession in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka.”  This paper examines the ritual of divine possession in post-war Sri Lanka, specifically looking to how the act of divine possession involves a powerful articulation of women’s bodily agency. Drawing from historical sources such as colonial-era journals, legislation, chronicles, political speeches, and news coverage, as well as my own fieldwork, my paper aims to trace how women’s bodies are often depicted as sites of the nation and forcefully consumed, through constructions of gendered norms, forms of labor, and legislation, for the continuance of that nation. I posit that divine possession engages in a reconsumption of women’s bodies that works to counter the violence of the nation/state by making legible on the body itself community trauma.

Emily McHugh.  “India’s Endangered Parsis: State Secularism and Population Policy in Comparative Perspective.”  Using the case study of the Jiyo Parsi(Long Live Parsi) program, a recent government initiative intended to slow the alarming decline in the Parsi population, this article examines how this tiny community has been able to influence government policy relating to their community practices within the framework of the Indian secular state. By situating this progressive initiative within the broader historical and societal contexts of India’s national family planning policies, this article also raises questions about how the recently established Hindu nationalist government may serve to widen the divide between religious minority groups. I argue that the experience of the Parsis reveals a discrepancy in the Indian government’s approach to secularity that systematically privileges certain community groups over others.

2017: Smith College

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled “Sunshine: Bright over Seoul,” written by Karin Honarvar, Smith College senior East Asian Studies and Architecture double major. Her faculty advisor for the essay is Dennis Yasutomo, Professor of Government.

Ms. Honarvar will receive the award at the Annual Conference in Chicago, April 7-9, 2017. The essay will also be published in a forthcoming issue of ASIANetwork Exchange.  Her paper “analyses three cases over the history of North and South Korea’s formal relations to argue that, despite Seoul’s official changes in diplomatic policy towards Pyongyang, the core principles of the sunshine policy as articulated by Kim Dae-jung have been present throughout Seoul’s actions and rhetoric since the formal initialisation of North-South relations in 1971.”

The Award Committee also recognized Melina Oliverio, Elon University, for honorable mention as the first runner-up for her paper entitled “Migration and Identity: Gender Dynamics and Religious Participation among Sikh Women in North Carolina” in this year’s national competition.  Her faculty advisor is Amy L. Allocco, Associate Professor of Religious Studies.

The members of this year’s selection committee express their appreciation and admiration for all of the entries for this award.

2016: Union College

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled “Professional Niche Differentiation: Understanding Dai (Traditional Midwife) Survival in Rural Rajasthan,” written by Sharmeen Azher, Union College pre-med senior, majoring in Biology and Anthropology. Her faculty advisor is Jeffrey Witsoe, Assistant Professor of Economics.

Sharmeen Azher, Union College

Ms. Azher will be presented the award at the Annual Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida March 4-6, 2016. The essay will also be published in a forthcoming issue of the ASIANetwork Exchange.

The Award Committee also recognized Chidinma Emenike of Macalester College for honorable mention as the first-runner up for her paper entitled “Japanese Language Ability and Identity as Determined by Heritage and Appearance” in this year’s national competition.

The members of this year’s selection committee express their appreciation and admiration for all of the entries for this award.

2015: Davidson College

ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best underg raduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled “Linked Without Linking: The Role of Mainland China’s Taiwanese Students in Cross-Strait Unification,” written by Lincoln Davidson of Davidson College. Mr. Davidson will formally accept the award at the Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, April 10-12, 2015. The essay will also be published in a forthcoming issue of ASIANetwork Exchange. The members of this year’s selection committee express their appreciation and admiration for all of the entries for this award.

2014: Carleton College


ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper entitled “Countless Ramayanas: Language and Cosmopolitan Belonging in a South Asian Epic,” was written by Rafadi Hakim, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, who graduated from Carleton College in 2013.
 
Congratulations to Mr. Hakim and to his academic advisor, Prof. Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Broom Professor of Social Demography and Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton College. The paper will be published in the Spring 2014 edition of ASIANetwork Exchange. We would like to express our thanks and admiration for the many other accomplished entries that competed for this prize.

2013: Elon University

Brett Evans with Nandi the bull at the famous Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, India
ASIANetwork is pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Marianna McJimsey Award for the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia. The winning paper is entitled “Ideologies of the Shri Meenakshi Goushala: Hindu and Jain Motivations for a Madurai Cow Home,” written by Brett Evans of Elon University.


Congratulations to Mr. Evans and to his academic advisor, Amy Allocco, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. The paper will be published in the Spring 2013 edition of ASIANetwork Exchange. We would like to express our thanks and admiration for the many other accomplished entries that competed for this prize.

Updated, 30 July 2013: Here is a link to Evans’ article in the ASIANetwork Exchange Spring 2013 issue.

2012: Davidson College

The ASIANetwork Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Chao Ren of Illinois Wesleyan University has been selected as the winner of the first annual Marianna McJimsey Student Paper Competition. The winning paper is entitled “Revisiting Tagore’s Visit to China: Nation, Tradition, and Modernity in China and India in the Early Twentieth Century.” His paper was chosen from a large pool of papers from a broad swath of ASIANetwork member institutions. Chao Ren will be attending the 2011 Annual Conference to receive the award and his paper will be featured in the spring 2011 issue of the journal ASIANetwork Exchange.

Whitney Webb (left), with Marianna McJimsey presenting the award.

The Selection Committee was composed of Publicity Committee Chair, Jason Fuller (DePauw University) and Publicity Committee members Marsha Smith (Augustana College), Shu-chin Wu (Agnes Scott College), Mary Beth Heston (College of Charleston) and Dyron Dabney (Albion College).

This award honors the outstanding service of Marianna McJimsey, the first Executive Director of ASIANetwork and the first editor of the ASIANetwork Exchange. The annual prize recognizes the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia by a student currently or recently enrolled in ASIANetwork member schools. Topics may include any area of Asian Studies.

2011: Illinois Wesleyan University

The ASIANetwork Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Chao Ren of Illinois Wesleyan University has been selected as the winner of the first annual Marianna McJimsey Student Paper Competition. The winning paper is entitled “Revisiting Tagore’s Visit to China: Nation, Tradition, and Modernity in China and India in the Early Twentieth Century.” His paper was chosen from a large pool of papers from a broad swath of ASIANetwork member institutions. Chao Ren will be attending the 2011 Annual Conference to receive the award and his paper will be featured in the spring 2011 issue of the journal ASIANetwork Exchange.

Chao Ren receiving his McJimsey Award letter (Photo by Rebecca Gearhart)

The Selection Committee was composed of Publicity Committee Chair, Jason Fuller (DePauw University) and Publicity Committee members Marsha Smith (Augustana College), Shu-chin Wu (Agnes Scott College), Mary Beth Heston (College of Charleston) and Dyron Dabney (Albion College).

This award honors the outstanding service of Marianna McJimsey, the first Executive Director of ASIANetwork and the first editor of the ASIANetwork Exchange. The annual prize recognizes the best undergraduate student paper dealing with Asia by a student currently or recently enrolled in ASIANetwork member schools. Topics may include any area of Asian Studies.