Congratulations to Morgan Berman (Women's Studies, '08) and Caroline Carpenter Nichols (PhD candidate, American Studies), who received the 2008 Dean's Prize for Student Scholarship on Women.
The Dean’s Prize for Student Scholarship on Women, generously funded by the Dean’s Office, recognizes an outstanding paper by a student at the College on a subject related to women or gender. We had a record number of submissions this year and it was an extremely difficult decision. Thanks to the Women’s Studies Prizes Committee for all their hard work!
Morgan Berman (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.”
The winning entry in the graduate student category was a paper by Caroline Carpenter Nichols’ (PhD candidate, American Studies). Caroline's submission was a revised chapter from her PhD dissertation in American Studies, and the title is “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.