Winner announced: 2012 Michael Baptista Essay Prize

Baptista 2012 prize winner

CERLAC is pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 Michael Baptista Essay Prize for outstanding scholarly papers on topics of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

At the graduate level, Lisane Thirsk (Socio-Legal Studies) won for her paper: "Law and the Discursive Construction of Street Harassment as Violence in Mexico City."

At the undergraduate-level, no prize was awarded this year but two papers received honorable mention: Katia Hoyos Saleme's "The Pawns in the Globalization Game" and Allan Jacobson Spessoto's "Recuperated Workplaces."

The competing essays were nominated by York faculty members and evaluated by two committees of CERLAC Fellows (a separate committee for each of the two prizes).

In one evaluators' words, Lisane Thirsk's contribution provides a "finely nuanced understanding of why law is both a necessary and yet unreliable resource in mobilizing for social change in Mexico… The essay demonstrates thorough knowledge of the Mexican legal system's current realities and practices and places these insights squarely in the service of its line of argument. Its nuances and intelligent discussion of the topic informs and critically engages with the subject. Overall, an excellent essay, a valuable contribution to the topic." Another evaluator noted: "The author did an excellent job of contextualizing the role of the new anti-harassment law within the contemporary realities of Mexico. What placed this essay above the others was its specific focus on a group, Atrévete D.F., and its interaction with the new law. It is the real experience of real activists that gives the spark to this paper."

The other graduate-level nominees were: Aaron Cain's "Extractives versus Indigenous Peoples: Is Welcoming Mining a Path to Decolonization?"; Angele Charette's "The Structural Dimensions of Canadian Mining Practices Abroad: The Case of El Salvador vs. PacRim Cayman"; and Janice Flavien's "Carnival As Translation: A Case Study."

All of the nominated papers represent high-calibre scholarly work at their authors' respective levels of study and merit recognition as worthy of candidacy for this prize.

The prize-winning paper is available online as part of CERLAC's Baptista Prize-Winning Essays Series.

The Michael Baptista Essay Prize was established by the friends of Michael Baptista and the Royal Bank of Canada. This $500 Prize is awarded annually to both a graduate and an undergraduate student at York University in recognition of an outstanding scholarly essay of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, from the humanities, social science, business or legal perspective. The Michael Baptista Essay Prize and Lecture are named in honour of Michael Baptista in recognition of the areas central to his spirit and success: the importance of his Guyanese / Caribbean roots, his dedication to and outstanding achievement at the Royal Bank of Canada, and his continued and unqualified drive and love of learning.

If you are a York faculty member and wish to nominate a student's essay for this prize, please contact CERLAC:

Congratulations to all this year's nominees, and especially to the prize winner!