SHD Student Prize

Have you written a research paper for your college or graduate school class that centers on the history and impact of geographic discoveries?

If so, we invite you to submit your research paper for consideration for the Society for the History of Discoveries Student Prize.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 1 June of each year

Areas of eligible research include:  voyages of exploration, travel narratives, biography relevant to the history of geographical discoveries and exploration, history, cartography, the technologies of travel, impact of travel and cultural exchange, and other aspects of geographic discovery and exploration.

Who is Eligible:  Students from any part of the globe currently enrolled in a college or university degree program and who will not have received a doctoral degree prior to 1 June of the submission year. Note:  Graduating high school or college students accepted into a program but who do not begin classes until fall  of the submission year are NOT eligible.

The Research Paper:  An eligible research paper shall be original and unpublished, written in English, between 3,000 and 8,000 words, plus footnotes or endnotes.  Papers written for college or university class assignments are encouraged, but students may write specifically for this prize.  A reasonable amount of illustrative and tabular material will be welcome, but is not required. 
Paper formatting:  The paper should be typed using a standard font (Times, Palatino, Calibri, Arial) and double-spaced.  All pages should be numbered in the upper right-hand corner.  All papers should include either endnotes or footnotes.  Papers should not have parenthetical references, that is, citation information in parentheses in the body of the paper.  Do not include your name anywhere but on the cover sheet.
Cover Sheet:  All papers must have a cover sheet that includes the following information:  full name, postal address, e-mail address, phone number, the name of the college or university you attend, your academic department, and your current student status – for example:  2nd year undergraduate; 1st year MA; PhD candidate; ABD.


Submission Deadline:  1 June
Electronic submissions only to:
Dr. Anne Good, committee chair
Subject line:  SHD Student Prize

Questions?  Contact Dr. Good, committee chair

Evaluation Criteria:

All papers will be evaluated by a panel of judges from the Society for the History of Discoveries. New for 2021, the Society will award two prizes:  one for the best graduate student research paper and one for the best undergraduate research paper.  The panel’s decision will be final and will be announced on the SHD website after July 15.  The committee reserves the right to award no prizes based on the quality of the submissions, and in the event of a tie, the committee may decide to award additional prizes.

Specific criteria:
•    Originality
•    Contribution to new knowledge or insights
•    Relevance to the subject
•    Cogency of the argument and appropriateness of the documentation
•    Quality of writing (including grammar and spelling, as well as style)

Note:  Submissions will be disqualified if a) the author is not eligible per the criteria noted above; b) the paper is not relevant to the history of discoveries as outlined above or to the general history of geographic exploration; c) the ideas and quotations in the paper that are not the authors’ own are not adequately cited (footnotes/endnotes). Due to the number of submissions, we will not make notifications of disqualifications without enquiry.

The awardee in the graduate student category will receive a prize of $500.00 (US) and the awardee in the undergraduate category will receive a prize of $250.00 (US).  Both awardees will be invited to present a version of the paper at the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries.  Information about participation in the conference will be provided to the awardees upon notification of the award, including details concerning costs and travel funding.  Acceptance of the prize is not contingent upon your ability to attend the conference.  Additionally, the awardees will be invited to submit the winning papers to the society’s peer reviewed journal, Terrae Incognitae, for which they will undergo the usual review process prior to formal acceptance for publication, of which there is no guarantee.


Prize Winners

Click on the image for complete information

Prior Student Award Winners

2016 No prize awarded

2015  Felipe Fernandes Cruz, University of Texas, Austin

“Napalm Colonization: Indigenous Peoples and Exploration in Brazil’s Aeronautical Frontiers.”

2014 Josephine Benson, Brown University

“New Worlds, New Germs: The Role of European Expansion in the Development of Germ Theory.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 47.1 (2015).

2013  Joshua Michael Marcotte, University of Minnesota

“Culture, Contact and the Agency of Appropriation in a 1741 Map of Nagasaki.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 46.1 (2014).

2012  Justin T. Dellinger, University of Texas, Arlington

“La Balise: A Transimperial Focal Point.”

2011 No prize awarded

2010 Scott Vincent Hatcher, Memorial University, St. John’s Newfoundland

“The Birth of the Monsoon Winds: On the Existence and Understand of Hippalus, and the ‘Discovery’ of the Apogeous Trade Winds.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 45.1 (2013)

2009 No prize awarded

2008 Gabriel Hill, University of Minnesota

“French Merchants and Missionaries on the Early Modern Slave Coast.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 41 (2009).

2007 Antony Adler, University of Washington

“Uncharted Seas: European Polynesian Encounters in the Age of Discoveries.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 40 (2008).

2006 Matt H. Voss, University of Minnesota

“‘In this sign you shall conquer.’ The Cross of the Order of Christ in Sixteenth-Century Portuguese Cartography.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 39 (2007).

2005 Alice Storey, University of Aukland

“Layers of Discovery.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 38 (2006).

2004 Christopher Slogar, University of Maryland, College Park

“Polyphernus africanus: Mapping Cannibals in the History of the Cross River Region of Nigeria, ca. 1500-1985.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 37 (2005).

2003 Robert D. Lukens, Temple University

“Finding Themselves in the Arctic: Samuel J. Entrikin and the Peary Expedition of 1893-1895.”

2002 Carol A. Medlicott, University of California, Los Angeles

“Re-thinking Geographical Exploration as Intelligence Collection: The Example of Lewis and Clark’s ‘Corps of Discovery’.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 35 (2003).

2001 No prize awarded

2000 Paul W. Mapp, Harvard University

“French Reactions to the British Search for a Northwest Passage from Hudson Bay and the Origins of the Seven Years’ War.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 33 (2001).

1999 Neil Safier,  The Johns Hopkins University

“Mapping Myths: The Cartographic Boundaries Between Science and Speculation in La Condamine’s Amazon, 1743-44.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 33 (2001).

1998 Ken Mitchell, University of Minnesota

“Science, Giants & Gold:  Juan de la Cruz Cano’s Mapa Geographic de American Meridional.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 31 (1999).  

1997 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1996 Lynn Guitar

“Francisco Chicorama: A North American Indian in King Charles V’s Court.”  Published in Terrae Incognitae 29 (1997).

1995 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1994 José Delgado

“A Cartographic view of the Falkland Malvinas Sovereignty Problem.”

1993 Christian Brannstrom, University of Wisconsin, Madison

“The River of Silver and the Island of Brazil.” Published in Terrae Incognitae 27 (1995).

1992 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1991 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1990 Carol Sparks

“England and the Columbian Discoveries: The Attempt to Legitimize English Voyages to the New World.” Published in Terrae Incognitae  22 (1990).  

1989 Please contact the Society if you have any information about the award for this year.

1988 First Year.  No prize awarded, but two papers received honorable mentions.

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