Graduate Student Essay Contest

Each year the English Department awards a grand prize of $100.00, a second place prize of $75.00, and a $50.00 third prize for the BEST GRADUATE STUDENT ESSAYS.  The entry must have been written during one’s graduate career at UCR.  No previous award-winning essay may be submitted.

Limit 1 essay per student. Essays must be submitted anonymously but should include a cover sheet stating the student’s name, ID number, local address and phone, and the title of the essay. The essay itself should include the title, but NOT the student’s name.

Submit three copies of the essay, along with the cover sheet, to Tina Feldmann in the English Department Office, 1202 HMNSS (essays are usually due in early May). Winners are announced at the end-of-the-year party in June (date TBA).  Winning papers are kept on file for perusal.


Spring 2014 Winners

First Prize: Hannah Manshel
“Feeling Unintelligible: Learning to Talk around the Unbearable, or why does Lavinia make me cry?”

Second Prize: Taylor Evans
“The Race of Machines: Blackness, Labor, and the Edisonade.”

Second Prize: Flavia Ruzi
“Mistress of the Gaze: The Subject of Visuality in Mary “Perdita” Robinson’s Portraits.”


Spring 2013 Winners

First Prize: Anna Garascia
“What Is It?  The Wonder of Wonders”:  The Prehistoric Freak’s Queering of Gendered Histories”  

Second Prize: Anne Sullivan
“Queer and Ghostly Children in A Christmas Carol” 

Third Prize: Laura Fussell
“Archiving the Trauma of Assimilation”


Spring 2012 Winners

First Prize: Emily McArthur
“Grief Prior to Death: Chartist Elegies and the Pastoral Tradition”

Second Prize: Kimberly Hall
“Empathy, Photography and Technology: Walter Benjamin and Nadar in the Paris Catacombs.”

Third Prize: Anne Sullivan
“Awakening from the Phantasmagoria: Children’s Books as Revolutionary Media”


Spring 2011 Winners

First Prize: Ray Crosby
Where “He had learn’d to take Tobaco”: Oroonoko and Amerindian Identification

Second Prize: Emily McArthur
“Wonders of Science” and “Blessings of Progress:” The Columbian Exposition and the Consolidation of American Identity in Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day

Third Prize: Melanie Masterton
“Always Already a No-No Boy: The Wound of Citizenship in John Okada’s No-No Boy.”
David Mura’s Famous Suicides of the  Japanese Empire and Susan Choi’s American Woman

Honorable Mention: Alicia Contreras
“Moraga’s Central California: Locating Critical Regionalism in Heroes and Saints and Watsonville”

Spring 2010 Winners

First Prize: Tom Schneider
“Birdmen, Werewolves, and Loveless Knights:  The Misrecognition of Transformative Masculinity in Marie de France’s Lais”

Second Prize: Alice Contreras
“Something You Can Die With”  The Caddy Faulkner Loved and Never Found Again

Third Prize: Justin Gautreau
“Though art thy mother’s child, entirely!”  Biopower, Incest, & Blackness in Wuthering Heights

Spring 2009 Winners

First Prize:  Tanner Higgin
“Turn the game console off right now!”: War, Subjectivity, and Control in Metal Gear.

Second Prize:  Chelsea Goodson
“Asian-American Masculinity: The Work of Phallucy by Frank Chin and Kip Fulbeck.”

Third Prize: John Terrill
“The Monstrous Utterance of Names” Troubling subjectivation in James’s The Turn of the Screw.

Spring 2008 Winners

First Prize:  John Terrill
Surpassing the symptom:  The social and subjectual organization of neurosis in D.H. Lawrence’s St. Mawr

Second Prize: Mike Podolny
Broken Ho(l)mes:  Colonial Melancholia and the Rewriting of the Domestic Sphere in Victorian Detective Fiction

Third Prize: Katy Warren
Pansies and Wall-flowers:  Female Spectatorship in The Portrait of a Lady

Spring 2007 Winners

First Prize: John Terrill
“Beingless beings”: The mechanics of ‘being’ the phallus in Joyce’s Ulysses

Second Prize:Jim Condon
The Burden of Proof: Material Goods and the Semiotics of Medieval Identity

Third Prize: Jeremy Kaye
Hard-boiled Nebbish: Hollywood’s New Jewishness (Old Blackface) and the Jewish Humphrey Bogart

Spring 2006 Winners

First Prize: Michael LeBlanc
The Color Of Confidence: Racial Con Games and the Logic of Gold in Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner

Second Prize:Christine Crocket
Out of Hand: Solitary Pleasures and Female Agency in Clarissa

Third Prize: John Terrill
“Invariability written by fools for the reading of imbeciles: Sensationalist journalism and ‘hyperrealities’ in Conrad’s The Secret Agent”

Spring 2002 Winners

First prize: Craig Svonkin

Second prize: Kristin Brunnemer

Third prize: Oceana Callum

Spring 2001 Winners

First prize: Christine Smedley

Second prize: Amy Robbins

Third prize: Michael Manous

Honorable mentions:

  • Craig Svonkin 
  • Christie Firtha
  • Jennifer Fletcher