Graduate Student Essay Contest


The SMFS Graduate Student Essay 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 including foot/endnotes and bibliography. It should be composed in Microsoft Word, 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 in SMFS and publication of the winning paper, subject to editing, in our journal Medieval Feminist Forum.

The annual deadline for submission is 1 November. The winner will be announced around 1 February. 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:


2017 Shireen Hamza, Harvard University
“Medicine Beyond Doctors: Aphrodisiac Recipes in Tenth-Century Medicine and Cuisine”

2016 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”

2015 Alexandra Locking, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
“‘And they shall be two in one flesh’: The Battle Over the Virgin’s Body in the Life of Christina of Markyate”

2014 Gillian Adler, UCLA
“Female Intercession and the Shaping of Male Heroism in the Roman das and Le Chevalier au Lion”

2013 Jennifer Freeman, Vanderbilt University.
“Theologizing Gender in the Rothschild Canticles.

2012 Rachel Freedman Stapleton, University of Toronto
“Motherly Devotion and Fatherly Obligation: Eleanor of Aquitain’s Letters to Pope Celestine III”

2011 Laura Saetveit Miles, Yale University
“Looking in the Past for a Discourse of Motherhood: Birgitta of Sweden and Julia Kristeva.”

2010 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”

2009 Sarah Celentano, University of Texas-Austin
“Commentary from the Canoness: Female Agency and Christian-Jewish Debate in the Hortus Deliciarum

2008 Amy Brown, University of Sydney (undergraduate)
“Gender, Power and Heroism in Aelfric’s Judith