Angela Hou and Alexandra Southgate, two undergraduate students in HIS344: Conflict and Co-operation in the International System Since 1945, have each won a U of T Libraries Undergraduate Research Prize. The prize recognizes undergraduate student work that shows an innovative use of information sources to develop the student’s understanding of what it means to be “information literate” in the 21st century. Angela and Alexandra were two of six students to win the $1000 prize. In total, undergraduate students from the Department of History won three UofT Libraries Undergraduate Research Prizes.
Angela Hou drew on Chinese and English language sources including primary documents from two different readers, a series of Chinese language print sources, and online digital Chinese and American documents. She wrote a powerful and nuanced argument about the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and its relationship both to the world outside China and the world Mao was building at home.
In her paper, Alexandra Southgate identified the key secondary literature, and combed through primary sources available at University of Toronto Libraries including the Digital National Security Archive, the National Security Archive, the Foreign Relations of the United States Series, USCB’s public papers of the Presidents project, and diaries and memoirs of key players. Alexandra pieced together an outstanding and thoroughly researched paper about President Richard Nixon’s contemplations about whether or not to launch a massive assault, possibly including nuclear weapons, against North Vietnam.
Professor Timothy Sayle who taught both Angela and Alexandra in HIS344, notes that students in HIS344 used all the tools at their disposal: met with him, writing centre staff, liaison librarians, and attended a public lecture given by Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, George Washington University. Nonetheless he points out that Angela and Alexandra “did really exceptional work; the success is well-deserved and the credit all theirs.”
Since both Angela and Alexandra are both in their second year, we look forward to seeing them in more history courses in the years to come!