Undergraduate Awards & Prizes

IRWGS honors undergraduates with three annual prizes recognizing outstanding intellectual achievement: the Queer Studies Award, the Women’s and Gender Studies Award, and the Feminist to the Core Essay Prize.   

The Queer Studies Award, inaugurated in 1994, honors an undergraduate for excellence in research and writing in Queer Studies. Winning submissions demonstrate clarity, originality, ambition, and are informed by or engaged in critical issues 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. Winning submissions demonstrate clarity, originality, ambition, and are informed by or engaged in critical issues in Women’s and Gender Studies.

The Feminist to the Core Essay Prize, inaugurated in 2017, 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

 

Undergraduates are invited to compete for all three awards in a give year, but may not submit the same essay for consideration for multiple awards.

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

2021 Essay Prize & Award Applications

The application cycle for 2021 essay prizes and awards is now open. The deadline for applications is Friday April 16, 2021.

Previous Winners

2020

Em Rosner, “‘We have all participated’: Abu Ghraib, Homonationalism,
and the Rationalization of Modern Torture”

2019

Sandra Goldstein Lehnert, “Sex, Text, Self: Euphuism and Re/Con/Figuration in Lyly’s Gallathea

2018

Sadie Yudkin, “The Future is Here, It’s Queer: Contemporary New York City Music Scenes as Queer Theory in Practice and Praxis”

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”

2020

Amelia Roskin-Frazee, “Offending the State: The Gendered and Racialized Violence of the Sex Offender Registry”

Eliza Siegel, “Jews-as-Syphilis: Metaphor, Science, and Tenuous Reality in Nazi Germany”

2019

Poorvi Bellur, “Disjointed Narratives: Tracing the History of Purity, Nationalism and Gender in South Indian Dance in the Early 20th Century”

2018

Edward Alexander Crouse, “Sylvia on Trial: Sedition, Censorship and Civil Liberties in 1921″

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”

2020

David Ehmcke, “To Tune the Ear Toward the Celestial: Techno-Musical Innovation and Feminist Mobilities in the Long History of Musical Expressionism”

2018

Clara Beccaro, “(M)adam and (St)eve: Queer Theory in Paradise Lost”