Undergraduate Awards

Awards

IRWGS honors undergraduates with three annual prizes recognizing outstanding intellectual achievement.  The Queer Studies award, inaugurated in 1994, honors an undergraduate for excellence in research and writing in Queer Studies.  The Women’s and Gender Studies award, inaugurated in 2007, honors an undergraduate for excellence in research and writing in the fields of women and gender studies.

In keeping with the open spirit of investigation that characterizes Queer Studies and also Women’s and Gender Studies, the committee sets no topical, ideological, or methodological requirements for submissions, and generally looks for work that exhibit clarity, originality, ambition, and those that are informed by, and engage in, large critical issues.

The Feminist to the Core Undergraduate Essay Prize is awarded annually to the undergraduate who is judged by the IRWGS prize committee to have written the best essay on any topic in Feminist or Queer Studies in one of the following Core courses:

  • Literature Humanities
  • Contemporary Civilization
  • Art Humanities
  • Music Humanities

The Selection Committee for each award is composed of IRWGS faculty and staff who organize and coordinate the awards, and an interdisciplinary group of Columbia University and Barnard College faculty. The committee encourages undergraduates from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to submit an essay of 25 pages or less for consideration.

Undergraduates are invited to compete for all awards, but may not submit the same essay twice.

Download an application for the Queer Studies Award here.

Download an application for the Women’s and Gender Studies Award here.

Download an application for the Feminist to the Core Undergraduate Essay Prize here.

Additional questions?  Contact us at 212.854.3277 or by email at irwgs@columbia.edu

Queer Studies Award Winners

2017:

Sona Armenouhi Quigley, “Quelle Surprise!”

2016:

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

2014:

Harris Mercer, “Out Of The Shadows Of Plague: Transmission, Protection, and Tony Kushner’s Queer Tomorrow”

2013:

Jessica Shollenberger, “‘Nothing Pleases Me Except Dinner: Eating Sex and Queering Eating in Gertrude Stein’s ‘Lifting Belly.’”

2012:

Lauren Herold, “RuPaul’s Drag Race is Burning: Performances of Femininity and Neoliberalism in ‘Post-Racial’ America”

2011:

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

2010:

Anna Steffens, “‘Another Androgynous Freak Show’: The ‘Pregnant Man’ and Transgender Politics in American Pop Culture”

2009:

Shira Burton, “Out in the In Crowd: ‘Thinking Sex’ and Today’s Movement for Gay Rights”

2008:

Daniel Altabef, “Private Sex – Public Performance”

2007:

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)

2006:

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

Women's and Gender Studies Award Winners

2017:

Rebecca Claire Fisher, “The Separate Spheres Argument Against Women’s Jury Service: A Review of the Literature

2016:

Sarah Faith Thompson, “Sexual Violence in Civil Wars: Strength, Organizational Control, and Rebel Groups”

2015:

Caitlin Lowell, “Justice Is Not An Institution: The University of Michigan and the Alternate Responses to Sexual Violence on Campus”

2014:

Taylor Clarke, “My Career As A Machine: Siri and Human Bodies in Servitude”

2013:

Callie Strickland, “Policing Strategies of Prostitution in the US: A Closer Look at Street Prostitution in New York City”

2012:

Joseph Daly, “An Exception to Prove the Rule: The Publishing Career of Louisa McCord and the Applicability of Separate Spheres in Antebellum South Carolina”

2011:

SaraEllen Strongman, “The New ‘Magic Negroes’: Non-White Women as Transformational Agents in Disney Animated Films”

2010:

Chloe Smith, “Ladies and Females: Women’s Missionary and Educational Work in Nineteenth-Century India”