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College of Liberal Arts News

Willamette history professor wins 2012 James Broussard Award

Seth CotlarSeth Cotlar

For his book, “Tom Paine’s America,” history professor Seth Cotlar won the 2012 James Broussard Award.

The award for Best First Book was bestowed by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. The association of scholars is dedicated to exploring the events and meaning of the United States history between 1776 and 1861.

“Winning this award was especially gratifying since it comes from a group of people whose opinion I greatly value, my fellow historians of the early American republic,” Cotlar says.

“Knowing that other scholars of the period read my book and found it worthy of such an honor makes all of those years of research, writing, rewriting and more rewriting worthwhile.”

“Tom Paine’s America” explores the people, ideas and texts that shaped American political debate in the 1790s. Paine was a figurehead of an international, democratic movement, and his increasingly radical political writings were wildly popular in America in the late 1700s.

Cotlar says he aimed to write a book accessible to everyone, not only professional scholars.

“Thomas Paine was a political writer who masterfully communicated the most sophisticated political ideas of his day in a language that resonated with millions of his fellow citizens,” Cotlar says. “The goal of the book is to explore the complicated relationship between Tom Paine and the American democratic tradition.”


Professor earns award for advancing Native American artistic expressions

Rebecca J. Dobkins, anthropology professorRebecca J. Dobkins, anthropology professor

For her work on Native American cultures and art, anthropology professor Rebecca J. Dobkins is receiving the 29th annual Earle A. Chiles Award.

Dobkins is the curator of Native American collections at Willamette University's Hallie Ford Museum of Art. According to a news release from the Oregon High Desert Museum in Bend, Dobkins is being recognized for advancing the exchange of artistic expressions through exhibits, publications and educational programs.

Her award comes with a $15,000 prize from the Chiles Foundation, which she is using to complete her book, "The Art of Ceremony: Regalia of Native Oregon." The book is an outgrowth of an exhibition by the same name, which she organized at the Hallie Ford Museum in 2008.

Dobkins is writing the book in collaboration with members of the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon. It celebrates the artistry of ceremonial regalia as it is used today.

She is receiving the award at the Earle A. Chiles Award Banquet in Portland on Dec. 4.