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National Award for Former History Student

A former history student at Queen Mary, University of London has won a national award for his dissertation, exploring the nineteenth-century immigration of Norwegians to the USA.

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The Peter Parish Dissertation Prize 2012 was presented to Henrik Mathiesen for his thesis Foreigners in the West: Norwegian-Americans and Belonging, ca. 1830-1860.

This national prize is awarded annually by BrANCH, the British Association of American Nineteenth Century Historians, for the best UK undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation on American nineteenth-century history.

The judges were impressed by Henrik’s use of sources in two languages saying “the arguments were clear, convincing and interesting, and drew effectively on a number of different disciplines.”

Henrik a BA History graduate from Norway commented: "When I started at Queen Mary as an international student in 2009, I could not imagine that my degree would culminate in a prize like this. However, the friendly and positively challenging atmosphere at QM built up my confidence to undertake a research dissertation in my final year.

“I chose to research the immigrant experience of acquiring a home in the American Midwest. Having acquired an identity as a foreigner myself (albeit as a student, not a nineteenth-century farmer), I inevitably had questions of home and belonging on my mind. Eventually I found out that, for immigrants at least, belonging was as much about being at home in a place, as well as, adhering to contemporary currents of nationalism.”

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