Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize

2023 Recipient

Clayton Marr

The Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize, established in 1990 and named in honor of Professor Holmgren in 2021, is awarded for an outstanding essay by a graduate student in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Winner: Clayton Marr, The Ohio State University
Title: “The Angevin-Albanian Element in the Albanian Lexicon”

Clayton Marr’s essay is ambitious, original, innovative, and deeply grounded in existing research. Marr identifies a new layer of linguistic borrowing in Albanian dating back to Charles D’Anjou’s Angevin project in Albania in the 13th and 14th centuries, displaying an impressive mastery of diverse literatures in both linguistics and history. This interdisciplinary approach helps the reader better understand not only the structure of the Albanian language, but also medieval Albania and the dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire after the Fourth Crusade. Marr’s essay is meticulously researched and engages competing explanations of linguistic phenomena in a systematic way, thus bringing an impressive degree of depth to his scholarly contribution. The prize committee additionally noted the verve in Marr’s writing and the ease with which he makes a complex subject both accessible and fascinating to a broad, multidisciplinary audience.