We are delighted to announce the winners of the first Georgia State Student Book Collecting Contest: David Casey and Cole Hale.
Students were asked to ‘Imagine a collection of books they would like to own.’ While many universities run book collecting contests, Georgia State is unique in that it does not require entrants to own any books: the competition aims to make a collection happen.
Fourteen students entered this inaugural competition to pursue the first prize of $700 worth of books (including ebooks). That sum has been donated by Special Collections, the History and Religious Studies departments, the Honors College, and individual faculty members Scott Jacques and Nick Wilding.
So what kind of books do students want to own? An alphabetical list starts: Anime, #BlackLanguageMatters, Computer-language manuals, and continues just as unpredictably. The judges were impressed by the range and vitality of subjects described, and the desire with which our students yearned to enter, experience, and share textual worlds.
Two entries excelled for their originality, coherence, and passion, and the judges decided to split the award between them:
David Casey (M.A. candidate, Philosophy) proposed A Most Bitter Pill: Historical, Philosophical, and Socioeconomic Perspectives on Health Injustice in the United States. Casey’s entry was profoundly personal and timely, seeking to document and resist the racist legacies upon which modern healthcare is built. It traces the medical mistreatment of African Americans, women, and the LGBTQA+ community and asks us to consider structural injustices from the perspectives of history, ethics and anthropology. It is an excellent and elegiac example of biblioactivism, and will help guide Casey as he moves on to medical school.
Cole Hale (M.A. candidate, History) dreamed up An Aquarian Collection, which reassembles the counterculture movement of the 1960s from three perspectives: its culture, its philosophy, and its later reception. We were particularly impressed by Hale’s grasp of the importance of affordable original artifacts (in this case, first editions of Timothy Leary’s The Psychedelic Experience (1964) and Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)) as well as his desire to put this collection on exhibition in a public library.
Honorable Mention goes to Fariha Hossain (English major, Philosophy minor) whose proposal Abjection offered a probing and twisting book-based poetics centered on Julia Kristeva’s classic Powers of Horror, entangling it with all kinds of uncanny works.
Congratulations to all those who entered, and especially our winners. This year’s competition guidelines are available here.
The Judges, Sarah Cook (Psychology, Honors College), Scott Jacques (Criminal Justice & Criminology), Christina Zamon (Special Collections & Archives), & Nick Wilding (History).