Awards and Prizes

Vasant Kaiwar headshot

Dr. Vasant Kaiwar, retired in 2023 after a thirty-year career at Duke, was a beloved teacher in the History Department.  During his time at Duke, he taught courses on modern South Asia, pre-modern world history and a gateway seminar, “Empires in Historical Perspective”.  He is the author of The Postcolonial Orient: The Politics of Difference and the Project of Provincializing Europe.  Together with Sucheta Mazumdar, he founded the journal, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  He has also co-edited two books, Antinomies of Modernity: Essays on Race, Class, Orient, and From Orientalism to Postcolonialism: Asia, Europe and the Lineages of Difference.  Dr. Kaiwar was someone with a deep commitment to undergraduate research—including the sharing of undergraduate research through publication.  2024 is the inaugural year of the Vasant Kaiwar Prize.



Submission Deadline:  January 15, 2024


We invite submissions of historical research papers, based in primary sources, that are between 6000 and 9000 words long, including footnotes. The paper must have been written for a Duke History course (including cross-listed classes). We are especially interested in papers that pursue Professor Kaiwar’s own interests in Eurocentrism and imperial history. The winning paper, to be determined by a group of faculty and undergraduate students, will be published in Historia Nova, and the author will receive a cash prize of $250.


Application Procedure:

All submissions should contain your name and the prize of contention in the subject line.  The body of your email will contain your name, class year, and Duke NetID, as well as the title of your work.

Please note:

  • Students are only allowed to submit one entry per category.
  • Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Entries must be titled.
  • The same work by the same author may not win multiple contests. However, different works by the same author are eligible to win different awards.
  • Your paper should be attached to your submission email as a Word or PDF file.
    • Your name should not be on your paper.  Work will be judged anonymously.
  • Submit entries to Craig Kolman at
Anne Firor Scott headshot

"Teaching is not principally a matter of imparting information, but at its best is a way of encouraging students to think about their own thoughts, ask their own questions, and find out how to look for answers to those questions." - Anne Firor Scott

Submission Deadline:  April 8, 2024


Dr. Scott, one of Duke's most committed teachers and renowned scholars, was the W. K. Boyd Professor Emeritus of History at Duke, where she taught from 1961 to 1991. She was a pioneer in the expanding field of women's history, and she served as president of the Southern Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. Throughout her career, she encouraged the idea that the best way to learn the historical craft is to work with primary sources. Under the leadership of Dara DeHaven (T'73, G'74, L'80), numerous former students and friends joined together to create this endowment in Dr. Scott's honor to help students engaged in research in women's history to spend time in archives and resource centers where they can make thorough use of original historical materials.

These are one-time awards for graduate students working on seminar projects or dissertations on any aspect of women's history, and undergraduates who are writing honors theses in History with priority consideration for those projects focused on women's history. Undergraduate and graduate student projects will be evaluated separately. Applicants should include the name of a faculty member who can be contacted as a reference. 

Awards generally range from $500-$1000, but requests of up to $2000 may be considered. Partial funding may be awarded in some cases. Awards will be made in the form of non-compensatory payments which are considered reportable income by IRS rules. See:

Awards may be used for travel, living expenses, and other direct costs incurred in collecting and analyzing information. Winners will be asked to report on their work and to provide photographs for use on the Department of History website and in promotional materials.


Application Procedure

  • The application should consist of the following:
    • a proposal of 2-3 pages addressed to the Anne Scott Award Committee
    • current curriculum vitae or resume
    • completed application form
  • The proposal should include:
    • description of the student's overall project or the specific resource materials for study
    • the reasons undertaking the project
    • the status of work already in process
    • a budget for requested funds
    • an explanation of other funds available to the student
  • Applications should be submitted to Matthew Meyer at

The Scott Award is administered by the Duke History Department and the Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies Department. A faculty committee from the two departments will select the winners of the award. Applicants will be notified by mail the week of April 15, 2024. Winners will report on the use of these funds and their work by September 1, 2024.