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SRS 2020 Graduate Student Essay Prize

The Twelfth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize

The Twelfth Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize of 2020 has been earned by Cosmin Koszor Codrea, doctoral candidate in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture at Oxford Brookes University, for his submission entitled “Mismeasuring diversity: Popularizing scientific racism in the Romanian Principalities around the mid-nineteenth century.”  This entry merited the award foremost on account of its success at examining a subject that has received scant attention in the literature – the manner in which “scientific racial terminology” was embraced and disseminated publicly in the Romanian Principalities in the early-to-mid-19th century.  Koszor Codrea performs this by scrutinizing a number of naturalist case studies, emphasizing the part they played in dispersing race theory to the public domain, a topic hardly of historical gravity alone as we see in the many contemporary reminders of the at times brutal implications of the social and cultural construction of race. The entry also caught the reviewers’ attention by drawing on a range of literature – both domestic and international – in probing this overlooked segment of history, illustrating thereby the value of a broad investigation of scholarship in casting light on a problem.  The committee concluded as well that the paper was clearly written and well-organized, characteristics that contributed to it being accessible to non-experts.

An honorable mention is extended to Cosmin Tudor Minea, a postdoctoral research fellow at the New Europe College in Bucharest for his entry “Old buildings for modern times: The rise of architectural monuments as symbols of the state in late nineteenth-century Romania.”  It was a close runner-up for the prize given its unique contribution to scholarship on the pioneer Romanian architect, Ion Mincu, offering a perspective on his work that has the capacity to upend interpretations prevalent today in art historical and architectural realms, and due to its exploration of national discourse both before and after unification.

SRS Essay Prize Committee Members:

Gerard Weber (Chair), Alexandra Chiriac, and Rodica Milena Zaharia