Alison MacAulay is awarded the 2022 Finlayson Gold Medal

January 31, 2023 by Department of History Staff

Dr. Alison MacAulay has won the department’s 2022 Finlayson Gold Medal for the best dissertation defended between October 1 2021 and September 30 2022. Dr. MacAulay's thesis, “Filming History: Visual Representations of Rwanda, 1916-2014” illustrates the central historical role of film in Rwanda as a site for the production and deconstruction of ethnic and racial narratives and a crucial mediator of relationships between state and nation. Rwandan film served as an archive of history; an instigator of social change; a record of memory and a key site for the expression of trauma. “Filming History” is an outstanding example of interdisciplinary historical analysis on a compelling and urgent topic.

As the winner of the department’s Finlayson Gold Medal, “Filming History” is the U of T History Department’s submission for the Canadian Historical Association’s John Bullen Prize for the best history dissertation in Canada defended between October 1 2021 and September 30 2022. 

Honourable mention goes to Dr. Christine Matzen, whose dissertation, “Women’s Prisons and the Politics of Punishment in Nazi and Postwar Germany,” was also nominated for the Finlayson Gold Medal. Dr. Matzen’s thesis, which was defended in May 2022, represents an important contribution to several fields of historical inquiry, including German history, histories of women, gender and sexuality and carceral studies.  

Dr. MacAulay's supervisor was Prof. Julie MacArthur, while Dr. Matzen’s supervisor was Prof. Doris Bergen. Please join us in congratulating all of them, as well as the dissertation committee members who were such a crucial part of their journey through the PhD.  

We had a record number of defenses this year and a healthy pool of nominations. Congratulations are due to all students who completed their doctoral degrees this past year.