Graduate Student Essay Contest


The SMFS Graduate Student Essay Competition is now open.   This competition is open to all currently-enrolled graduate students, including those who will complete their degree in the current year.  Papers may cover any aspect of medieval studies that focuses on issues of women, gender, and/or sexuality.  The paper should be no longer than 8000 words, not counting foot/endnotes and bibliography.  It should be composed in Microsoft Word (doc OR docx), double-spaced with standard margins, and include a FULL citation apparatus—foot- or end-notes and bibliography, all in Chicago Manual of Style or MLA format. The prize will be 5 years’ membership of SMFS and publication of the winning paper, subject to editing, in our journal Medieval Feminist Forum.

Deadline for submission of paper is 1 November 2016.  The winner will be announced around 1 February 2017.  There may be years when the prizes will not be awarded, depending on submissions in that given year.

Send all submissions (via email attachment) and correspondence to Linda Mitchell:



2015 Jaimie Gunderson, The University of Texas – Austin
“The Space Between a Wound and a Scar: The Negotiation of Heroic Identity in Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Macrina”

2014 Alexandra Locking, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
“‘And they shall be two in one flesh’: The Battle Over the Virgin’s Body in theLife of Christina of Markyate”

2013  Gillian Adler, UCLA
“Female Intercession and the Shaping of Male Heroism in the Roman d’Enéas and Le Chevalier au Lion”

2012 Jennifer Freeman, Vanderbilt University.
“Theologizing Gender in the Rothschild Canticles.

2011  Rachel Freedman Stapleton, University of Toronto
“Motherly Devotion and Fatherly Obligation: Eleanor of Aquitaine’s Letters to Pope Celestine III”

2010   Laura Saetveit Miles, Yale University
“Looking in the Past for a Discourse of Motherhood: Birgitta of Sweden and Julia Kristeva.”

2009    Autumn Dolan, University of Missouri-Columbia
“A Revival of Female Spirituality: Adaptations of Nuns’ Rules during the Hiberno-Frankish Monastic Movement of the Seventh Century”

2008    Sarah Celentano, University of Texas-Austin
“Commentary from the Canoness: Female Agency and Christian-Jewish Debate     in the Hortus Deliciarum

2007    Amy Brown, University of Sydney (undergraduate)
“Gender, Power and Heroism in Ælfric’s Judith