November 26, 2018
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The Center for the Study of American Democracy is currently seeking submissions for the George Gund Prize. The deadline is midnight, Friday, March 2, 2018.
The George Gund Award is a $2,500 cash prize awarded annually at Honors Day for an exceptional essay that examines the American form of republican government as set forth in the United States Constitution.
This year, Center for the Study of American Democracy invites essays that reflect on democracy in America today, in light of the observations of Alexis de Tocqueville more than 170 years ago. Essays should engage with one of the quotations offered here. Essays may address the theme in myriad ways, considering questions such as:
• How has the American republic evolved in its dedication to social equality, individual liberty, and/or self-interest rightly understood? Why, and with what effects?
• What are the tensions between liberty and equality in our time? Was Alexis de Tocqueville prescient in his discussion of the consequences of Americans’ love of equality over liberty or has American democracy evolved differently than Tocqueville anticipated, and if so, how and why and with what effects?
• Does American political discourse today reflect a commitment to self-interest rightly understood? In what ways do our institutions work (or fail to work) to encourage the pursuit of “self-interest rightly understood”?
Contest rules and judging considerations
The Gund Prize competition is open to any currently enrolled Kenyon student who has not previously won this contest.
Typically, essays are solo-authored, but if two students choose to co-author an essay and it wins, CSAD will divide the prize equally between the authors. Essay writers may not seek assistance from parents, professors, or off-campus mentors. CSAD screens essays with Turnitin.com to assure intellectual integrity. The faculty panel of judges uses a blind review process, identifying the writer only after determining the winning essay. Therefore, your essay should not have your name on the title page nor on headers. Submit your essay as a Word attachment to an email and put your name in the message line.
Essays should engage with one or both of the quotations given here. (There is no advantage to trying to address both quotations rather than just one.) Although this is not an analysis of Tocqueville per se, writers are encouraged to seek out the source chapter to be sure they understand the quotation.
The judges look for essays that are analytical, original, focused, and well informed. Writers should avoid platitudes, abstractions, partisanship, polemics, or speculation. The essay should be current, yet have enduring value. While not a research paper, the essay should be composed in a formal third-person style and follow standard procedures for scholarly documentation. A previously written course paper could well serve as a starting point for the essay, with revisions made to address this prompt.
The essay should have between 1,000 and 1,500 elegantly composed words and include a title. Your name should not appear on any page.
Submit essay by email, as an MS Word attachment with no identifying information. The message subject line should be: Gund Essay -- and your first and last name. Email it to: email@example.com by midnight, March 2, 2018.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The George Gund Prize was created in 1952 by George Gund Honorary degree of 1950, longtime trustee of the College, chair of the Finance Committee, father of Graham Gund, '63 and former chair of the Cleveland Trust Company.