The Domitor Student Essay Award is offered annually in order to stimulate interest in the field of early cinema studies, to involve young scholars and archivists in the activities of our organization, and to reduce the gap between established and emerging generations of scholars and archivists of early cinema. The deadline is typically September 1, so that the winner can be announced at the annual General Assembly in October. For this year's guidelines in English/French, click here.
The winner of the 2012 Domitor Student Essay Award is Meredith A. Bak (UC Santa Barbara) for “Seeing Things: Optical toys and the Young Nineteenth-Century Spectator.” The members of the awards committee found that the essay is a keen analysis of optical toys and perception in early cinema and visual culture. Moreover, the awards committee decided to recognize Julie Lavelle’s (Indiana University) essay “Intermedial Seriality in the 1910s: Universal’s Lucille Love, Girl of Mystery” with an Honorable Mention. The author combines an analysis of storytelling across different media with reception and gender studies in a striking and convincing manner. Congratulations to Meredith and Julie!
The winner of the 2011 Domitor Student Essay Award is Laura Horak (UC Berkeley) for “Landscape, Vitality, and Desire.” The members of the Award Committee remarked, “In the essay, Horak provides a clear, compelling, and extremely well-documented argument about constructions of gender and race during the transitional period, drawing upon close readings of archival films, attention to relevant intertexts, careful analysis of extrafilmic documentation, and a mastery of the secondary literature of early cinema studies. Congratulations to Laura!” For her winning essay, Horak received $500 and publication of the essay in a major journal. Domitor extends its thanks to the Committee (Matthew Solomon [Chair], Charlie Keil, and Viva Paci) and, of course, to the many students who submitted an essay for consideration!
The winner of the Domitor 2010 Student Essay Award was Andy Uhrich (Indiana University), for “Ascertaining the Origins of Films Screened in the Illustrated Lecture A Pictorial History of Hiawatha (1904).” The members of the Award Committee felt that Uhrich's essay was “very well-researched and argued,” and singled out this “detailed and carefully argued reconstruction” of A Pictorial History of Hiawatha both for “assessing the available documents in a very nuanced and cautious manner” and for “foregrounding archival issues that have been of great interest for Domitor.”
The winner of the Domitor 2009 Student Essay Award was Brian R. Jacobson (University of Southern California), for an article about Georges Méliès's first film studio and glass-and-iron architecture. His essay, entitled "The 'imponderable fluidity' of modernity: Georges Méliès and the architectural origins of cinema", has been published in Early Popular Visual Culture (Vol. 8, No. 2, 2010).
The winner of the Domitor 2008 Student Essay Award was Philippe Gauthier (Université de Montréal / Université de Lausanne), for “La salle de cinema comme lieu institutionnel et cadre de signification : l'exemple des Hale's Tours dans l'historiographie traditionnelle.” The reading committee thought that this was a well-researched, well-written, and clearly presented thesis that is committed to re-thinking early film history. His essay has been published in Film History (Vol. 21, No. 4, 2009).