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Graduate Student Awardees



Amy Obermeyer is the winner of the 2021 Graduate Student Award for her article “Moving Mountains and Uprooting Weeds: Literary Subjectivity, First-Wave Feminism, and Women’s Magazines in Latin America and Japan,” which was published in Volume 48, Number 3 (2022).

The article examines the internationalist sensibility found in two feminist magazines published in the early 1900s: the Argentine literary journal Búcaro Americano and the Japanese literary journal Seitō. It connects these texts as part of a larger feminist upsurge that arose contemporaneously in multiple locations around the world. In focusing on women’s claims to subjectivity rather than suffrage alone, it demonstrates a mode of imagining a non-Eurocentric and non-imperialist feminism.


2020 (shared)

Candice Lyons and Jiwoon Yulee shared the prize for the 2020 Feminist Studies Graduate Student Award for their articles “Behind the Scenes: Elizabeth Keckley, Slave Narratives, and the Complexities of Queer Agency” and “A Feminist Critique of Labor Precarity and Neoliberal Forgetting: Life Stories of Feminized Laboring Subjects in South Korea, respectively.

Candice Lyons’s “Behind the Scenes: Elizabeth Keckley, Slave Narratives, and the Complexities of Queer Agency” offers an illuminating analysis of the intimacy between formerly enslaved seamstress Elizabeth Keckley and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Lyons’s article expands our possibilities for finding queer ancestors and queer histories and simultaneously contributes to multiple fields: critical race feminist studies, queer histories, feminist geography, and feminist pleasure studies. This article is published in issue Volume 47, Number 1 (2021).

Jiwoon Yulee’s “A Feminist Critique of Labor Precarity and Neoliberal Forgetting: Life Stories of Feminized Laboring Subjects in South Korea” tacks between theories of precarious work and the specific life-stories of three elderly Korean women workers to develop a compelling argument about how the recent history of work is “forgotten” in narratives assuming the supposed newness of precarious work. This article will be published in Volume 47, Number 3 (2021).


2018 (shared)

Kenna Neitch and Stephanie Yingyi Wang share the prize for the 2018 Feminist Studies Graduate Student Award for their articles “Indigenous Persistence: Challenging the Rhetoric of Anti-colonial Resistance” and “When Tongzhi Marry: Experiments of Cooperative Marriage between Lalas and Gay Men in Urban China,” respectively.

The editorial collective appreciates Kenna Neitch’s innovative framing of “persistence” as a means to move beyond the intellectual dilemmas posed by “resistance.” As Neitch explains, privileging resistance can perpetuate a troubling binary between resistance and accommodation. Neitch reclaims the term “persistence” to describe how indigenous communities that pre-date and endure colonial intervention “can further the work of shifting the central focus from coloniality to the continuation of indigeneity.”

The editorial collective praises Stephanie Yingyi Wang’s rich account of how cooperative tongzhi marriage strategies in China are queering “the heteronormative family institution from within.” The emerging arrangements between lalas and gay men, Wang shows, are shaped both by heteronormative constraints and by the global circulation of gay rights narratives. In doing so, Wang offers new ways to think about contemporary queer subjectivities.



Alexandra Verini is the winner of the 2016 Feminist Studies Graduate Student Award for her article “Medieval Models of Female Friendship in Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies and The Book of Margery Kempe.” Verini contributes to a feminist history of friendship by offering the example of two medieval European figures—Christine de Pizan and Marjory Kempe—who configured female communities that could offer women safe spaces and mutual respect. Verini describes fascinating, diffuse networks united by cross-class friendships and uneven reciprocities. Such relationships, she theorizes, are adaptable and open to revision as they challenge “the rigidity of idealized androcentric friendship.”



Harriet Gray is the winner of the 2015 Feminist Studies Award for her article “The Geopolitics of Intimacy and the Intimacies of Geopolitics: Combat Deployment, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Domestic Abuse in the British Military.”

Gray’s article draws on in-depth interviews with British military families and examines how wider social narratives that posit PTSD as a cause of domestic violence end up depoliticizing gender inequalities within military households. She notes that many perpetrators of domestic abuse were violent even prior to their deployment, and as such, her study offers an account of how an ostensibly anti-militarism discourse can function in top-down ways to excuse gender-based violence. The editorial collective agreed that the nuanced line of argument offered here pushes scholars to revisit common assumptions about the role of military deployment in spurring post-deployment violent behavior. Fittingly for this special issue on Everyday Militarism, it also traces the everydayness of militarism in Britain.

Gray's article was published in Volume 42, Number 1 (2016).



Heather Berg is the winner of the 2013 Feminist Studies Award for her article “Working for Love, Loving for Work: Discourses of Labor in Feminist Sex Work Activism.”

Berg’s article tackles sex worker activist and abolitionist feminist approaches to sex work, which are often positioned in diametric opposition to one another, but often share in common a focus on sex work as a matter of sexual, rather than labor, politics. For a certain cross section—largely white and US-based—of sex worker activists, this tendency emerges in three main ways: the construction of a version of feminist sex worker agency dependent on the ability to work for noneconomic reasons; reification of normative treatments of domestic or intimate labor as non-work; and avoidance of critiques of sex industries as players in advanced capitalism. This article explores the implications of these trends in scholarship and policy, connecting them to broader discourses of labor under capitalism and arguing for a departure from sex work exceptionalism.

Berg's article was published in Volume 40, Number 3 (2014).



Charlie Y. Zhang is the winner of the 2012 Feminist Studies Award for his article “Deconstructing the National and Transnational Hyper-Masculine Hegemony in Neoliberal China.”

Zhang’s article seeks to deconstruct the nationalistic spectacle of athletic hypermasculinity embodied by Liu Xiang, a Chinese huddler and Olympic gold medalist. The author approaches it not only as an example of the expansion of the Anglo-American manliness in the Chinese context, but also as a gendered lens through which to probe the contingency and mutation of neoliberal governmentality. The article provides a Chinese vantage point for the transnational critique of the current universal script of neoliberalism.

Zhang's article was published in Volume 40, Number 1 (2014).


2009 (shared)

Rajani Bhatia and Polly Myers for their articles, “Constructing Gender from the Inside Out: Sex Selection Practices in the United States” and “Jane Doe v. Boeing Company: Transsexuality and Compulsory Gendering in Corporate Capitalism,” respectively.

Bhatia’s article, “Constructing Gender From the Inside Out: Sex Selection Practices in the United States,” is a critical reading of how sex selection practices have surfaced and become increasing normalized in the United States since the appearance of new pre-pregnancy sex selection technologies in the mid-1990s. Bhatia is a doctoral candidate and instructor in the department of women's studies at the University of Maryland. Her current research centers on sex selection practices in the United States, aiming to situate them within a transnational politics of reproduction.

By focusing on one of the first cases to use state disability statutes to argue for employment discrimination based on transsexuality, Myers’s article, “Jane Doe v. Boeing Company: Transsexuality and Compulsory Gendering in Corporate Capitalism,” examines the ways that transsexuality challenged established masculine norms at the Boeing Company. Myers was a graduate student in the history department at the University of Minnesota when she submitted this article. She now teaches history at Western Washington University. Her current research focuses on corporate culture and employment discrimination at the Boeing Company.

Bhatia's article, “Constructing Gender from the Inside Out: Sex Selection Practices in the United States," was published in the Summer 2010 (vol. 36, no. 2) issue of Feminist Studies.

Myers's article, “Jane Doe v. Boeing Company: Transsexuality and Compulsory Gendering in Corporate Capitalism,” was published in our Transgender Studies issue, Summer 2011 (vol. 37, no. 2).




Emily Skidmore, for her article, “Constructing the ‘Good Transsexual’: Christine Jorgensen, Whiteness, and Heteronormativity in the Mid-Twentieth Century Press.”

The article focuses on how early discussions of transsexuality solidified gender norms and, more particularly, reified them in relation to standards of whiteness. In the article, Skidmore outlines the process whereby white transwomen (most notably, Christine Jorgensen) gained more media visibility during the 1950s than transwomen of color, a phenomenon that resulted in the category of transsexuality becoming exclusively associated with whiteness, whereas drag queens and other so-called gender deviants became exclusively associated with non-whiteness.

Skidmore is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is currently working on her dissertation, “Exceptional Queerness: Defining the Boundaries of Normative U.S. Citizenship, 1875-1936,” which tracks the medical, cultural, and legal narratives produced around individuals who were born female but lived as men at the turn of the twentieth century.

Her article was published in our Transgender Studies issue, Summer 2011 (vol. 37, no. 2).



Andrea Mansker, for her article, "'Vive Mademoiselle'! The Politics of Singleness in Early Twentieth-Century French Feminism."

Mansker questions why singlehood has been problematized by scholars of the early feminist movement as an Anglo-American category. Whereas much attention has focused on the "redundant woman" issue in turn-of-the-century English and American women's movements, French feminist scholarship has emphasized the model of "republican motherhood," despite the large number of unmarried women in the French context. Mansker explores how early French activists understood and contested the dimensions of singlesness as a sociopolitical and cultural category, arguing that there was an ongoing discussion among feminists about how to create an acceptable public identity for the large numbers of unwed women in France.

Mansker was a graduate student in the history department at the University of California, Los Angeles, when she submitted this article, which appeared in vol. 33, no. 3 (Fall 2007).



Rebecca Scott, for her article, "Dependent Masculinity and Political Culture in Pro-Mountaintop Removal Discourse."

Scott's article focuses on how American political culture is expressed in identity formations, in particular, white working-class masculinity, and how this identity formation influences the environmental politics of mountaintop removal, despite the decreasing demand for workers and the destruction of communities and the environment that are the result of the mining technique.

Scott was a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, when she submitted this article. Her article appeared in vol. 33, no. 3 (Fall 2007).




Judy Rohrer, for her article, “Toward a Full-Inclusion Feminism: A Feminist Deployment of Disability Analysis.”

Rohrer’s article provides a feminist exploration of disability studies and the movement that gave it birth. As a nondisabled feminist Rohrer interrogates her own ableism and looks for the opportunities disability analysis provides for fuller theorizing and activism. In her essay, she explores possible paths toward feminist theorizing and praxis that are inclusive of disability. These paths offer expanded theoretical landscapes and additional tools for use in feminist social justice struggles. Rohrer begins her essay by briefly sketching the context in which we find ourselves as U.S. citizens, scholars, and activists since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the founding of the Society for Disability Studies. This environment offers imperatives, opportunities, risks, and responsibilities for the inclusion of disability awareness and people with disabilities within every aspect of life. She focuses on some illustrative theoretical tools and sites of feminist inquiry and activism that are deepened and challenged through the deployment of disability analysis: simultaneity, irony, interdependence, body politics, and “choice.” The Feminist Studies editorial collective believes that this article is a very important contribution to the body of scholarly work and notes that it has frequently been cited by academics in the field. Feminist Studies is delighted to offer this award to her.

Rohrer was a graduate student at the University of Hawaii when she submitted this article. Her article appeared in vol. 31, number 1 (Spring 2005).



Basia A. Nowak, for her article, “Constant Conversations: Agitators in the League of Women in Poland during the Stalinist Period.”

Nowak's article provides a thoughtful historical analysis of how, during the Stalinist period (1949-1953), Poland’s primary women’s organization under communism, the League of Women, served the party’s propaganda effort, particularly through the work of its female agitators. As the title suggests, female agitators used “talking” as a means of both informing women about socialist ideology and facilitating their participation in the building of a socialist state. The article explores why the party utilized the league in this undertaking, the specific manner that the league used to address other women, and the ideological reasons for the termination of league agitators in 1952-1953. Feminist Studies’ editorial collective thought that this article offered a compelling glimpse into the lives of women during the Stalinist period and the gendered component of propaganda at that time.

Nowak was a graduate student at Ohio State University when she submitted this article. Her article appears in volume 31, number 3 (Fall 2005).


2003 (shared)

Sarah Potter, for her article, "'Undesirable Relations': Same-Sex Relationships and the Meaning of Sexual Desire at a Women's Reformatory during the Progressive Era."

Sarah Potter's article explores ideologies of progressive era working-class and poor women's sexual expression through an examination of same-sex interracial relationships at the New York State Reformatory for Women at Bedford Hills. Her article provides a rare glimpse into the same-sex sexual world of women's prisons during this period and an important theoretical analysis of the centrality of class and race as the ideological underpinnings for reformers' interpretation of sexual passion among poor women.

Potter was a graduate student at the University of Chicago when she submitted this article.

Megan Sweeney, for her article, "Prison Narratives, Narrative Prisons: Incarcerated Women Reading Gayl Jones's Eva's Man."

Megan Sweeney's article explores incarcerated women's responses to Gayl Jones's text about an African American prisoner. Her nuanced reading of Jones's novel and the interpretations of it by imprisoned women offers a valuable insight into how women prisoners "reproduce, resist, and rework existing discourses about women, crime, and violence." In so doing, Sweeney models a transformative form of listening that allows women to speak as subjects who have both committed acts of violence and are often also the victims of violence.

Sweeney was a graduate student at Duke University when she submitted this article

Both articles appear in volume 30, number 2 (Summer 2004), a Special Issue on Women and Prison.




Annalise Moser, for her article, "Happy Heterogeneity? Feminism, Development, and the Grassroots Women's Movement in Peru."

Annalise Moser's rich analysis of the "awkward relationship between grassroots women's movements in Lima, Peru, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) goes to the heart of debates among Latin American feminist activists and scholars. Her article is both a theoretically provocative and ethnographically detailed study that, in the words of one reader, "takes us inside the heads of the different actors involved with a significant Peruvian social movement."

Moser was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge when she submitted this article. Her article appears in the issue, volume 30, number 1 (Spring 2004).



Lisa Levenstein, for her article, "Hard Choices at 180l Vine: Poor Women's Legal Actions against Men in Post-World War II Philadelphia."

Lisa Levenstein's article on how women used the courts in early-twentieth-century Philadelphia to protect themselves against abusive husbands is a deeply researched and thoroughly convincing analysis of the possibilities and limits of women's use of the law. This article is especially valuable for its thoughtful and much needed focus on class and racial differences among women who sought the law's protection.

Levenstein was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison when she submitted this artice. Her article appears in vol. 29, number 1 (Spring 2003).



Ayse Parla, for her article, "The 'Honor' of the State: Virginity Examinations in Turkey"

Ayse Parla shows in this article how the "woman question" has been, and continues to be, central to Turkish modernization. She demonstrates how the body of the woman--unveiled but still required to embody traditional virtues such as chastity and modesty--becomes the site on which the relationship between tradition and modernity in Turkey is played out. She argues that rather than seeing state virginity controls as the expression of "backward," traditionalist attitudes, they should be understood as part of the apparatus of surveillance of the modern nation-state.

Parla was a graduate student at New York University when she submitted this article. Her article appears in vol. 27, number 1 (Spring 2001).

1998 (shared)

Ednie Kaeh Garrison, for her article, "U.S. Feminism-Grrrl Style! Youth (Sub) Cultures and the Technologies of the Third Wave."

Ednie Kaeh Garrison addresses the possibilities for women's agency in the contemporary nexus between consumption, popular culture, and technology. She argues that through an alternative and oppositional subculture forged in a particular historical moment (the post-civil rights movement, the current backlash against feminism, the availability of certain technologies), young women are claiming agency for themselves by selectively using the available cultural tool kit in self-consciously political ways. The loosely networked, decentralized groups of young women adopt punk DIY (do it yourself) philosophies and democratized technologies to promote art and knowledge about issues ranging from child abuse and domestic violence to girl power and rock star elitism.

Garrison was a graduate student at Washington State University when she submitted this article. Her article appears in vol. 26, number 1 (Spring 2000).

Gillian M. Goslinga-Roy, for her article, "Body Boundaries, Fiction of the Female Self: An Ethnographic Perspective on Power, Feminism, and the Reproductive Technologies."

Gillian Goslinga-Roy is concerned with the slippage between actual experience of the subjects involved versus the rigidly controlled boundaries between parents and "womb donors" that are apparently enforced by reproductive technology. through extensive interviews of her subjects, she suggests the ways in which class, gender, race, and discourses of motherhood shape the dynamics between the women involved, and structure their access to power. Utimately, it is these global factors, rather than the dictates of technology, which finally fix the definitions of and differentials between mother and surrogate.

Goslinga-Roy was a graduate student at University of California-Santa Cruz when she submitted this article. Her article appears in vol. 26, number 1(Spring 2000).

Victoria Rosner, for her article, "Have You Seen This Child? Carolyn K. Steedman and the Writing of Fantasy Motherhood."

Victoria Rosner uses British feminist historian Carolyn Steedman's autobiography, "Landscape for a Good Woman," to shed light on how memory and desire operate within the writing of history and the self. Thus, she urges our attention to the ways in which Steedman user her historical obsessions with the eight-year-old watercress seller in Henry Mayhew's 1861 London Labour and London Poor to mediate her own unhappy, working-class childhood. Rosner argues that the long-dead watecress seller eventually functions as the object of Steedman's "fantasy mothering"; only in this was is Steedman able to resolve the painful and debilitating relationship with her own mother.

Rosner was a graduate student at Columbia University when she submitted this article. Her article appears in vol. 26, number 1 (Spring 2000).