Two Seniors Win Prestigious Yale College Prizes

May 29, 2019



Two Humanities seniors, Olivia Noble ‘19 and Leland Stange ‘19 were awarded important Yale College Prizes for distinguished work on their Senior Essays.



Olivia Noble was awarded the Wrexham Prize for Best Senior Essay in the Humanities for her essay: Near and Not Lost: The International Memorialization of the Czech Holocaust Torahs (advisor Carolyn Dean). Each year, Yale College awards the Wrexham prize to that graduating senior who shall be judged to have written the best senior essay in the field of the humanities. Given in memory of Wallace Notestein, M.A. 1903, Ph.D. 1908, Litt.D. 1951.

Olivia’s essay traces international efforts to preserve Torah scrolls from Czech territories, many of which were housed in the Jewish Museum in Prague during World War II and later dispersed as memorial objects during the Communist era. The essay documents effort of the workers at the Jewish Museum to preserve their cultural heritage under Nazi occupation, while raising important theoretical questions about Holocaust memory. Special consideration is paid to the development of political, religious, and symbolic significance of the scrolls, and the ways spatial and cultural contexts influence memorialization.

Leland Stange was awarded the John Addison Porter Prize for his essay: Tocqueville’s Critique of Comparative Politics: Towards a “New Political Science” (Advisor Giulia Oskian). Each year, the John Addison Porter Prize is given for a written work of scholarship in any field in which it is possible, through original effort, to gather and relate facts and/or principles and to make the product of general human interest.  The award was established in 1872 by the Kingsley Trust Association (The Scroll and Key Society) in honor of the late Professor Porter, who received a bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1842.

Leland’s essay presents an original reading of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America as a critique of modern political science. The essay opens by unpacking Tocqueville’s distinct idea of liberty, a concept that deeply informs his fieldwork in North America. Leland shows that Tocqueville’s hands-on approach to his study of American democracy starkly contrasts modern tendencies in the study of comparative politics, which often involve abstract quantitative metrics free of historical and cultural context. Even more impressively, Leland concludes the essay by personally modeling Tocquevillian fieldwork in a study of democracy in Taiwan.


Please join us in congratulating Olivia and Leland for their award-winning work!