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Erin Zavitz Receives Early Career Prize for Historical Essay

January 30, 2018

Atlantic Studies has awarded Assistant Professor Erin Zavitz with their Early Career Prize for her essay “Revolutionary Narrations: Early Haitian Historiography and the Challenge of Writing Counter-History.”

Erin Zavitz

The article, published in the Atlantic Studies: Global Currents journal, “examines a selection of understudied nineteenth-century Haitian texts to illuminate how Haitians tensely narrated their country’s foundational event and negotiated the challenge of constructing the first black nation-state in the Americas.”

The prize is awarded to recent Ph.D. graduates who are early into their careers as professors.

On winning the award, Zavitz said, “I didn’t expect to get it, so it was a nice and exciting prize. This is the third year that the journal has done it.”

“Revolutionary Narrations” is a selection of a larger piece Zavitz is working on.

“The book will be about Haiti. It’s a reduced section of two chapters which are extended in the book. The process of getting the book published will take several years,” Zavitz said.

Zavitz is very invested in Haiti. Last year, she was able to allocate funds from The British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme to preserve a rare collection of Haitian newspapers.

According to Zavitz, things are progressing well in that project.

“We’re waiting to get hard drives back with the digital files on them. The next step is to catalogue those, and then, hopefully, we can get more grant funding for creating a web page or a digital exhibit to make the newspapers more accessible to people who want to use them.”

Zavitz believes the prize will open many doors for her, and her efforts to preserve history.

“It really gets your scholarship out there, so people pay attention. People know you’re doing research that’s particularly noteworthy and innovative. It’s also really good exposure for Montana Western. The other two winners are from Denmark and Switzerland, so it’s a very international journal.”

To read the essay and learn more about the prize, visit the essay prize website.