Two students have been chosen as winners of this years’ North Callahan Undergraduate Essay Prize at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The award usually is given only to one student, but judges decided two deserved it this year. The students—Jules Jackson and Dylan Wright—have been awarded $500 each.
Essays in the competition must center on a subject related to the humanities.
Jackson’s essay—“Place, Diaspora and Liminality in Self Help Graphics & Art Workshop”—examined an art organization in East Los Angeles that focuses on Chicano art and art education.
A junior majoring in painting and drawing, Jackson saw similarities between the Chicano Rights Movement of the 1960s and ’70s with the Black Lives Matter protests last year.
“The Chicano Rights Movement and the art practices that were connected to it felt very relevant to our contemporary moment in American politics,” Jackson said.
In his essay—“Puritan Paradox: Seeding American Evangelicalism”—Wright analyzed the connections between 17th century Puritan religious beliefs and today’s evangelical religious movement.
A senior majoring in history, he originally planned to research the influence of Evangelicalism on American identity, but discussions with Tucker Adkins, adjunct instructor in history, altered his focus.
“I came to enjoy researching early American Puritanism,” Wright said. “This time period has a lot to do with America’s creation, which I have always found interesting.
“I am not a religious person, but I am still very interested in topics like religion and its influence on historical events,” he said.
The essays were judged by Susan Eckelmann, associate professor and director of Africana Studies, Joseph Jordan, UC Foundation associate professor in Literature, and Jose-Luis Gastanaga, coordinator of the Humanities program and associate professor of Spanish.