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McCagg Student Paper Contest

William McCagg Memorial Paper Contest
2019-2020 Competition

The Paper Contest award is given in memory of William McCagg, a historian and educator who specialized in Central and Eastern Europe. Dr. McCagg was Director of the Russian and East European Studies Program at Michigan State University where he taught for 30 years.

The contest is administered by the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES). Selection of winners is determined by the center's faculty advisory committee, which will review and then rank the papers.

Papers may be submitted which contain a significant European, Russian or Eurasian component. Awards will be given at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in each category.

Contest Rules

  1. Each paper submitted must meet the following standards:Only one paper may be submitted by a given student.
    • Typed, double spaced, free of typo/spelling errors and any commentary by the professor who graded the original paper (please print out a copy).
    • There must be absolutely no reference on the paper to its author. This includes name and class or professor for whom it was originally composed. A separate cover sheet must be submitted containing this information. These forms are available at the CERES office or by request at ceres(at)
    • Papers will not be returned.
  2. Any paper written for a course at MSU during 2019 (or 2020) is eligible provided it contains significant European or Russian component.
  3. The deadline for submission is Friday, February 7, 2020.
  4. Awards of $100 will be given for the best papers in each category.

Please announce this competition to your class and urge the authors of your best student papers to apply!

Previous Winners

Previous Winners


Eurasian Studies:
Cody Shulz, Economics and International Relations, Azerbaijan: Doomed to Decline or Destined for Diversification

European Studies:
Joseph Karisny. History, A Malleable Feast: Cultural Reconstruction and Cuisine in Postwar France

Russian Studies:
Lyudmila Austin, History, Total Prohibition to Total Permissiveness: The Consequences of New thinking and Perestroika as Failure Guiding gradual Reform


Eurasian Studies

(Undergraduate) Mitch Roberts (International Relations), The Water Crisis in Central Asia

European Studies

Connor McLeod (History), Hitler’s Foreign Warriors: Non-German Legions in the Nazi War Machine

Russian Studies 

(Undergraduate) Dylan Border (History), Dead Men Walking: General Vlasov and the Russian Liberation Movement

(Graduate) Lyudmila Austin, Shoulder to Shoulder with the Nazis: Cossack and Tatar Collaboration during the Nazi Occupation of the Crimea and the Caucasus in the Soviet Union


European Studies

Chad Stevens (Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science: Social Science Education), Understanding the Debate: Analyzing the Arguments Surrounding the Catholic Church During the Holocaust

Caitlin McGee (History), French Africa and the Second World War: Race, Class, and Colonialism

Eurasian Studies

David Baylis (Geography), A Shriek in the Wasteland: Governmental Narratives of Gender, Nation, Territory and Health in the Novels of Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu

Erica Zentner (International Relations and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy), Independence at Last? An Assessment of Ukraine's Ongoing Struggle for Economic and Energy Independence

Russian Studies

Emily Elliot (History), Policing the Collective: Saving Individuals and Damning Nations


European Studies

(Graduate)Duygu Kanver (Media & Information Studies), "Freedom of the Press in Turkey: Jounalist Imprisonments during the Last Decade (2002-2012)"

(Undergraduate)Colin Witbrodt (James Madison College and History), "Area Boming: Liberation or Terrorism?"

Russian Studies

(Graduate)Emily Elliott (History), "Soviet Jews: From Prewar International Upbringing to Postwar Anti-Semitism"

(Undergraduate)Greg Spenchian (History and Russian), "Bandits and Heroes: The Partisan Struggle in the Occupied Soviet Union"

Eurasian Studies

(Undergraduate)Evan Hebert, "Kazakhstan's Second Act: Current Political Issues and Areas of Reform"


No awards this year


European Studies

Chris Potts, "Decaying Bastions of the Third Reich"

Russian Studies

Scott McAnally, "National Schools in the Tsarist and Soviet Era"

Eurasian Studies

Eric Wilson, "Why Do Living Standards Vary Among Transition Economies?"


European Studies

Alicia Johnson, "The German Occupation as a Formative Experience for the Children of France"

Russian and Eurasian Studies

Anna Dvorak, "Oskar Schindler: Business Life and Public Image"


Russian and East Europe

Theresa Koenigsknecht "Youth Transformed: The Struggle of Non-Jewish Children Growing Up in Occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia"


Alyssa Meyer: "Western Hopes of Independent Central Asian Oil and Gas Production: Overcoming a History of Failure"

Western Europe

Alexandra Albers: "Twisting the Truth: The Miracle at Dunkirk"


Russian and East European Studies

Gregg Neville, "Remembering Our Roles: Civilians as Resisters During the Warsaw Uprising of 1944"

Western European Studies

Valerie LeCompte, "An Effort to Assimilate: The Nazi Attempts to Germanize Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg Through the Education System"


Western European Studies

Marieka E. Brouwer: "The Technological World of Prehistoric Denmark on the Brink of Farming"


Russian and East European Studies

Erin Biebuyck, "Shame and Obligation: Memories of Native Fascism in Hungary"


Russian and East European Studies

Kali Koehler, "Democracy in Azerbaijan: Ensuring the Freedom of the Press"

Western European Studies

Bryan Victor, "Institutional Racism in Twentieth-Century France: From Assimilation to Social Exclusion"


Russian and East European Studies

Alan Sickner, "Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Human Rights in the Democratization of Georgia"

Western European Studies

Alicia Rattenee, "A Wolf at the Door: The Re-emergence of European Anti-Immigration Parties"


Russian and East European Studies

Charles Petrin, "Getting What you (Don't) Pay For: The Persistence of Wage Arrears in Russia"

Western European Studies

Greta Stahl, "Turkish Foreign Policy: The EU and/or Central Asia?"


Russian and East European Studies

Edward Timke, "The Invisible Woman?: Examining Newspaper Coverage of Feminist Issues in the Chechen Conflict"

Western European Studies

Gordon Jimison, "The United States of America's Policy Toward the ICC: Reasons and Reactions"


Russian and East European Studies

Megan Volk, "Ukraine's Role in the 21st Century Global Areana: A Study of the Advantages and Limitations of Ukrainian-Russian Relations"

Western European Studies

Sarah Heckemeyer, "The European Union's Dilemma: Trafficking in Persons"


Russian and East European Studies

Megan Biganeiss, "Russia in Transition"

Western European Studies

Jason Sakowski, "Stalin's Triumph: The Failure of Containment During Wold War II"