The 2013 winners were Faith Barton '14 for her paper “Sex Work as Embodied and Emotional Labor: Female Sex Workers, Performativity, and Transgressing Gendered Sexual Binaries and Boundaries," and Lindsay Keiter, a Ph.D. student studying with Professor Karin Wulf in the History department, who submitted a chapter from her dissertation entitled: “‘I fear some interference will become necessary to resque her’: Harriet Chew Carroll and Extralegal Response to Marital Breakdown in the Early Republic.”
Faith's paper, written for Professor Gul Ozyegin's course GSWS 430: Comparative Studies in Gender and Work, looks at sex work as performative, meaning that the speech acts and bodily comportment of exotic dancers, prostitutes and other sex workers are carefully negotiated, enabling them to carry out the physical and emotional tasks associated with their labor. Such an approach, Faith argues, is necessary if feminist researchers are to treat sex workers “as complete social beings who have agency and negotiate structural inequalities and hierarchies in the context of a workplace that contains the risks of physical danger and psychological costs.”
Lindsay explores the story of Harriet Chew Carroll, working with the Chew Family Papers at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania to examine the ways in which families addressed marital difficulties when divorce was an impossibility for one reason or another. In Carroll's case, her husband's alcoholism and emotional abusiveness finally forced her to accept familial assistance in negotiating an informal separation from him. As Lindsay argues, the silence surrounding domestic conflict in early America renders the archive around Carroll's case a remarkable and revealing one.
The 2012 Dean's Prize winners were Katelyn Durkin '12 and graduate student Kathryn Snyder.
The 2011 winners of the Dean's Prize for Student Scholarship on Women were Jennifer Root (Hispanic Studies, '11) and Alexandra Méav Jerome (Ph.D. candidate in American Studies). Jennifer Root’s winning essay, "The Invisible Cage: the Art of Remedios Varo and the Creation of Equality of Gender," was originally submitted to Professor Francie Cate-Arries (Hispanic Studies 493), and Jennifer translated it for us. In the essay, she discusses Spanish-Mexican painter Remedios Varo's use of the metaphor of artisanal crafts as a form of witness to declare publicly the injustice and the oppression of women. The household arts are represented in her paintings as tools of a system predisposed against the equality of gender. Varo shows what she believes to be the solution of this oppression: the erasure of the gender binary.
Alexandra Méav Jerome's work, "Shahrazad in the White City: Gender, Performance, and Muslim Womanhood at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition," comes from a Master's Thesis supervised by Professor Maureen Fitzgerald.
The 2010 winners of the Dean's Prize for Student Scholarship on Women were Teresa Ingraham (English/Psychology, '11) and Laurel Daen (Master's candidate in History).
Teresa Ingraham's paper, "'It Was Not Too Late:' Jeanette Winterson's Use of the Female Body in Producing a New and Uniquely Representational Feminist Form," was written for ENGL 465: Postmodern Fiction and Theory, with Professor Christy Burns. Teresa's paper, on Art and Lies by Jeanette Winterson, explores comparisons of the female body to parchment, canvases, maps and books - all of which intimately tie feminine methods of representation to unique expressions of desire, sexuality and creational power. Teresa argues that Winterson parallels the female body to a text or canvas to emphasize the masculinity of representational history and to call for a reclamation of female expressive power. Her conflation of language and body and the relocation of creative agency to the female's sex successfully "genders" a new representational form and excludes masculine participation in the "meaning-making" process.
Laurel Daen's paper, "Martha Ann Honeywell and the Art of Self-Presentation in America's Early Republic," was written for HIST 715: American History to 1815, with Professor Brett Rushforth. Laurel's essay examines the early nineteenth-century itinerant artist Martha Ann Honeywell, who traveled throughout America and Europe exhibiting her cut-and-paste silhouettes, embroidery, waxwork, and miniature writing samples. Interestingly, Honeywell also had a disability and was born without hands and with just three toes on one foot. Exploring the intersections of gender and dis/ability, Laurel argues that Honeywell used her artwork to selectively challenge and conform to social prescriptions in order to advance her career.
In 2009, the Prizes Committee gave two awards for student scholarship, to Casey Metheny (English and Psychology, '10) and Margaret Freeman (PhD student, American Studies).
Casey Metheny's essay on "Revolutionary Virginity" in Virginia Woolf adroitly explained how Woolf's virginal women can be read as icons of embodied independence and creativity--though not without a burdensome psychic cost--rather than as figures of self-denial and patriarchal purity. We particularly appreciated how Casey drew upon cultural and medical history as well as the literary contexts for Woolf's achievements.
Margaret Freeman's article on sororities in the postwar American South locates these institutions as contested ground, where ideals of elite femininity become stressed by competing claims of tradition and modernity, tasteful formality and civic engagement, especially in the context of Cold War patriotism. Margaret's skillful use of archival sources merits special attention; the sorority documents she discusses were truly eye-opening.
The winners in 2008 were Morgan Berman and Caroline Carpenter Nichols. Morgan (Women's Studies, '08) won in the undergraduate category, for her paper (based on her Honors thesis) "Beyond Pro Versus Anti: A Transnational Feminist Critique of Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Female Genital Cutting." Morgan identifies a deadlock in feminist accounts of FGC, showing how the debate has been reduced to two, opposing positions: "either supporting local communities to practice FGC as they see fit or rejecting FGC as an intolerable practice." In her paper, she argues that "Western feminist scholarship needs to take responsibility for its own biases and then confront them in order to support the work of local activist groups who are personally involved in the process of change enacted by activists working in these communities."
Caroline, a PhD candidate in American Studies, won the graduate prize for a revised chapter from her PhD dissertation, called "The ‘Adventuress' Becomes a ‘Lady': Ida B. Wells' British Tours." The chapter describes the effects on Wells' anti-lynching campaign of the lecture tours that she took through England and Scotland in 1893. Drawing on Wells' own autobiography and diaries, Caroline argues that the tours and the new outbreak of "spectacle lynchings" in the American South "spurred Wells to reconceptualize her campaign," to "assume new leadership roles" and to become more aggressive, even more masculine, in her self-presentation.
The winner of the undergraduate prize in 2007 was Patricia Nelson (Women's Studies and English, '08) for her paper, "Representative Destruction of the Female Body: Social Critique in So Far From God and The Rag Doll Plagues."
In 2006, the undergraduate prize was shared between Beth Block for her paper "Ancilla, Virga, Matrona, and Augusta on Screen: The Depiction of Roman Women in Hollywood Cinema", and Mary Teeter, who wrote "Re-humanizing Rochester: Masculinity Studies and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre." The graduate prize went to Elizabeth Neidenbach, for "The Power of a Legend: Negotiations and Representations of Marie Laveau in Francine Prose's Marie Laveau, Ishmael Reed's The Last Days of Lousiana Red, and Jewell Parker Rhodes' Voodoo Dreams."
In 2005, Kristen Proehl, a graduate student in American Studies, won the graduate prize for her paper "Re-Evaluating Sentimental Violence in Uncle Tom's Cabin and Dred", and Caitlin Freeman won the undergraduate prize for her Monroe Project, "Sex and the Street: Adolescent Girls and the Sex Culture of Deerfield, MA, 1730-1755."