2018-2019 Best Paper Prizes

  Posted on 2019-05-21

The Best Paper Prize was established to recognize top-quality undergraduate research articles published in USURJ in the past year. The judging panel is composed of three USask faculty from various disciplines and one USask graduate student.

This year the panel selected Kayla Arisman’s paper Let’s Talk About Sex: A Three-Way Comparison of Government-Sanctioned Prostitution for the top prize. The judges commend Kayla for her skill in explaining the different and conflicting perspectives of a controversial topic clearly and accessibly for a general audience. The paper is also well-organized and well-argued. A key strength of this paper is that it concludes with explicit recommendations for the Canadian context. Well done Kayla!

Two exemplary runners-up were also selected by the judges this year: Branden T. Neufeld’s The Dire Consequences of Specializing on Large Herbivores: A Comparison of Extinct Canis dirus and Extant Canis lupus, and Olenka Kawchuk’s Children of Heaven: A Bioarchaeological Review of the Inca Capacocha Mummies. Each of these papers explores fascinating topics that captivated the judges. Branden’s review paper gives an excellent summary of the literature and clearly organizes all of the disparate evidence to create a compelling explanation for the extinction of the dire wolf. Olenka’s review paper also does an exceptional job of integrating evidence from numerous articles to tell a unique story of ritual child sacrifice in the Inca Empire. Both of these papers identify gaps in the literature where future research is needed, are well-written for a broad audience, and engaging to read!

An Honourable Mention goes to Bidushy Sadika’s Promiscuous versus Romantic Lesbianism in Films: The Killing of Sister George and Blue is the Warmest Color. Bidushy’s paper is clearly written and has a coherent structure. We liked how she looks at two films separated by decades of time to explore how society’s attitudes towards same-sex relationships have changed. It is an ambitious paper.