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Nancy Rafetto Leach Sweeten Prize

Awarded annually for the best undergraduate essay on American Literature.

Read more about Nancy Rafetto Leach Sweeten.


Celine L. Choi (honorable mention)

“The Perils of the Acculturation Gap: How Asian American Childhoods are Weaponized in the Neoliberal Racial Project”

Pao Naughton (recipient)

“Civil is Uncivil”


Erin O. Brennan (recipient)


“Lost (and Found) in Translation: Misunderstanding and Transnational Collaboration in Ezra Pound’s Cathay


Kalila N. Papanikolas (recipient)

"Racial Triangulation and a Colonial Trace in the Stories of Hisaye Ysamamoto"

Maressa J. Park (honorable mention)

 “The [Re]Construction of Space, Environment, and Race in the South:  Faulkner and Ward"


Jessica Z. Bao (recipient)

"Black Women's Burden of Expectations:  The Politics of Respectability in Passing"

Elizabeth C. Eckhard (honorable mention)

"Tradition More Authentic Than History:  Freedom, Race, and Possession in George Washington Cable's Grandissimes"


Chloe Gong (co-recipient)

The Fallen Future is Chinese: Fears of Neoliberalism in the Techno-orientalist Themes of Ling Ma's Severance

James D. Morrison (honorable mention)

The Sound of Belch'd Woods:  "Song of Myself" As The American Epic

"His crudity is an exceeding great stench but it is America.  To be frank, Whitman is to my fatherland what Dante is to Italy." --Ezra Pound

Sumant M. Rao (co-recipient)

Zora Neale Hurston's Jonah's Gourd Vine:   Family Dynamics and the Great Migration Narrative


Derek J. Willie (recipient)

Remembering Deepwater Horizon:  Ecological Afterlives in Sing, Unburied, Sing


Joshua Z. Glahn (recipient)

Disrupting the Crowd


Natalie V. Burke (recipient)

'Not Essentially Different From [Her] Sex:'  A Literary Reading of the Rebecca Buckley Ferguson Letters

Sean W. Gill (honorable mention)

A Broken Hallelujah:  A critical addendum to Brodtkorb's "Selfhood and Others"


Soomin (Suzy) Kim (recipient)


Rachel S. Miao (recipient)

Syntax and Strangeness in Whitman's "Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night"


Janet A Chow (recipient)

Welty and the Tramp:  The Formation of Loneliness in Eudora Welty's 'The Hitch-Hikers'


David E. Dunning (recipient)

Title:  "Cantorian and Beautiful"  Pragmatic Abstraction in David Foster Wallace


Anusha M. Alles (recipient)

Title:  "I'm sane, you're not":  Possibilities and Paradox of Passing in Charles Johnson's Oxherding Tale"


Victor X. Gamez Barrera (co-recipient)

Title: "Love in Black-American Prison Literature"

Jessica B. Wolfe (recipient)

Title: Identifying "The Thing Not Named": Narrative Absence and Consumer Culture in Cather's The Professor's House


Joshua B. Bennett (recipient)


Alexandra J. Gibson (recipient)