Announcing the winner of the first RICH master's thesis award

The first winner of the RICH Master's Thesis Award is Marie van Haaster. The award - to be presented annually from now on - consists of a certificate and a prize of 500 euros. With the award, the Radboud Institute for Culture and History (RICH) aims to honour excellent research-based work by master's students.

Marie van Haaster is the winner of the RICH Master's Thesis Award 2022. She receives the award for her thesis "Longing for Consolation: Emotive failure and changing affective niches for late nineteenth-century French materialists."

Sense of consolation

In her thesis, Van Haaster focuses on the Libres Penseurs, a community of positivist, materialist and anticlerical thinkers who dominated public debate in France in the late nineteenth century. The sense of 'consolation' was central to the Catholic faith during this period, which is precisely why it was a controversial topic for the Libres Penseurs. In her thesis, van Haaster shows that this community of freethinkers had a paradoxical relationship with consolation. On the one hand, they radically rejected consolation as useless and even harmful; yet on the other, they did not manage to completely detach themselves from it. In her thesis, van Haaster tries to explain this paradox using the theories and conceptualisations of emotion most commonly used in the history of emotion. She shows where existing conceptualisations fall short and offers an alternative theoretical model.

Marie van Haaster

Exceptional master's thesis

The jury consisted of Liedeke Plate, Wim van Meurs and Maarten De Pourcq, respectively research director and research coordinators of RICH. From the jury report: "Marie van Haaster's thesis positions herself theoretically in relation to existing research. She has developed a new theoretical model for emotion history research. Experts are already saying that it will be used in the field. That is exceptional for a master's thesis."

Marie van Haaster studied history and philosophy. She was supervised during her thesis by Dr Anneleen Arnout and Dr Rob Boddice. Van Haaster is currently working as a PhD candidate at the European University Institute in Florence. “Thank you very much for this award!" responds Van Haaster to the award. “I am very honoured that my thesis has been chosen. At the time, I enjoyed working on it and this is a very nice conclusion to that process for me.''

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