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Queer Studies Award

The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality is proud to present the Queer Studies Award. Established in 1994, this award is meant to honor an undergraduate student for his or her excellence in research and writing in the rapidly growing fields of queer studies, queer theory, and gender studies. Its purpose is twofold: to recognize undergraduate students - who often have few opportunities for such recognition - for their superb intellectual achievement, and to provide students interested in the discipline with an instructional framework in which to work. The Queer Studies Awards Committee is composed of Columbia University faculty and staff who organize and coordinate the awards, and an interdisciplinary group of Columbia University and Barnard College faculty who are responsible for selecting the winners. The committee encourages undergraduates from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to submit a paper for consideration for the cash prize. It encourages papers that investigate the connections between sexuality, gender, race, class, nationality, and religion. In keeping with the open spirit of investigation that characterizes these disciplines, the committee sets no topical, ideological, or methodological requirements for submissions, and generally looks for papers that exhibit clarity, originality, ambition, and those that are informed by, and engage in, large critical issues.  (There is another award for Women's Studies.  Students are invited to enter both contests, but must enter a different essay for each contest.)

The Queer Studies Group will continue its support of undergraduates through the annual Queer Studies Award. For more information, stop by the Institute or download an application packet here. Contact us at 212.854.3277 or by email at irwgs@columbia.edu with any further inquiries.

Past Queer Studies Prize Winners:


Thando Mlambo, "Destabilizing Nation and Culture: How Zanele Muholi and Queer South African Women are Creating Discursive Space through Visual Culture”


Harris Mercer, "Out Of The Shadows Of Plague: Transmission, Protection, and Tony Kushner's Queer Tomorrow"

Jessica Shollenberger, "'Nothing Pleases Me Except Dinner: Eating Sex and Queering Eating in Gertrude Stein's 'Lifting Belly.'"

Lauren Herold, "RuPaul's Drag Race is Burning: Performances of Femininity and Neoliberalism in 'Post-Racial' America"

Erin Meyer, "Gay Fathers: Disrupting Sex Stereotyping and Challenging the Father-Promotion Crusade"

Anna Steffens, "'Another Androgynous Freak Show': The 'Pregnant Man' and Transgender Politics in American Pop Culture"

Shira Burton, "Out in the In Crowd: 'Thinking Sex' and Today's Movement for Gay Rights"

Daniel Altabef, "Private Sex - Public Performance"

Jonah Hassenfeld, "Methodological Critique: An Archeology of Narrative"
Chad Miller, "The Queering of St. Sebastian: Collective Memory and the Emergence of Gay Spirituality" (Honorable Mention)

Kat Lewis, "Multi-Issue Organizing in the New York Gay Liberation Front, 1969-1971"