by Kara Blizzard
Dr. Jeremy Mouat, Augustana professor and chair of Social Sciences, co-authored an article that has won the Tibesar Prize for 2009. The prize is awarded annually to an article in the journal, The Americas, and selection is based on scholarship, originality of research, and writing style. According to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Karen Graubert, the article is “a remarkable piece of research,” “an elegant argument,” and “a truly excellent piece of scholarship.”
Mouat worked with his friend Dr. Mike Gismondi, who works at Athabasca University. Their article is called ‘La Enojosa Cuestión de Emery’: The Emery Claim in Nicaragua and American Foreign Policy, c. 1880-1910. According to Mouat, it is “about a dispute between an American businessman [Emery] and the Nicaraguan government about 100 years ago.” Emery got a lease on a large chunk of land on the Mosquito Coast, and he started to log mahogany through an American lumber company. Mouat and Gismondi’s paper argues that the dispute “was hugely important, although it seemed like a trivial event that happened in this little corner of Nicaragua where no one lived. We argue that in fact the consequences of the dispute were hugely significant and ultimately ended up forcing the president of Nicaragua to quit the installation of a government friendly to the United States, and it also led to the imposition of some American financial regulation.”
Mouat and Gismondi have now co-authored two articles. The first was published in 2002, and it concerns Nicaraguan mines and American intervention. Mouat said, “All the time we were reading about this mining dispute there was this other dispute about mahogany that was sort of a back story that we kept on hearing about.” They decided to look further into it, and their resulting prize-winning article was published in January 2009. Mouat and Gismondi are now talking about writing a book.
Mouat’s main teaching areas at Augustana include Canadian history, the Industrial Revolution, and also some local history on the Bailey Theatre. He is thinking about developing a course on Central America’s relationship with the United States in the 20th century.