Best Book and Article Prizes

SMFS is very pleased to sponsor two prizes, which are awarded in alternate years:
*Best First Book of Feminist Scholarship on the Middle Ages (even years)
*Best Article of Feminist Scholarship on the Middle Ages (odd years for the preceding two year period)

These prizes were established in 2004 as a way for the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship to recognize outstanding scholarly contributions. The annual prize alternates between best first monograph book and best published feminist medievalist article; books are considered for the prize awarded in even years (published within the two years preceding) and articles are considered for the prize awarded in odd years (published within the two years preceding). Submissions are considered for their relative merit to the study of women and feminist values in Medieval Studies. The article prize carries an award of $300US and the book a prize of $500US, awarded at the annual business meeting each May at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University at Kalamazoo. For information on the prizes, please contact the President of SMFS.

Announcement, July 29, 2020: SMFS Best Article Prize Call for Submissions

We are pleased to announce the call for nominations and submissions for the 2021 SMFS Best Article of Medieval Feminist Scholarship Prize. Articles published in calendar years 2019 and 2020 will be considered for this prize.

Articles submitted for this prize will be assessed on both scholarly merit and relevance to the remit of SMFS. Topics are open, including issues regarding women, gender, trans* studies, feminist approaches and theory, and intersectionality. Range of study must, however, focus on the medieval period (ca. 500 to 1500).

The prize is US $300.00.

Deadline for submissions is 1 December 2020. Announcement of prizewinner will occur in late February/early March 2021.

Please send all submissions electronically (via email), in an attached OFFICIAL pdf version/file of the article with the publication information clearly identified, to Melissa Ridley Elmes,, subject heading: “Submission, SMFS Best Article Prize.” Make sure to include all contact information for the author.

2020 Best Book
Carissa Harris
Obscene Pedagogies: Transgressive Talk and Sexual Education in Late-Medieval Britain
(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018)

2019 Best Article
Jessica Boon
“At the Limits of (Trans)Gender: Jesus, Mary, and the Angels in the Visionary Sermons of Juana de la Cruz (1481-1534),” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 48.2 (May 2018): 261-300.

2018 Best Book
Michelle Armstrong-Partida
Defiant Priests: Domestic Unions, Violence, and Clerical Masculinity in Fourteenth-Century Catalunya
(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2017)

2017 Best Article
Therese Martin
“The Margin to Act: A Framework for Medieval Womens (and Mens) Art-Making,” Journal of Medieval History 42. 1 (2016), 1-25.
Reassessing the Roles of Women as Makers of Medieval Art and Architecture (1,200,000, 2010-2015, European Research Council Starting Grant no. 263036).

2016 Best Book
Jennifer Thibodeaux
The Manly Priest: Clerical Celibacy, Masculinity and Reform in England and Normandy 1066-1300
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

2015 Best Article
Laura Saetveit Miles
“The Origins and Development of the Virgin Mary’s Book at the Annunciation,” Speculum 89.3 (2014): 632-669.

2014 Best Book
Hannah Skoda
Medieval Violence: Physical Brutality in Northern France 1270-1330

2013 Best Article
Erin Jordan
“Gender Concerns: Monks, Nuns, and Patronage of the Cistercian Order in Thirteenth-Century Flanders and Hainaut,” Speculum 87.1 (2012): 62-94.

Elizabeth Freeman
“The Priory of Hampole and its Literary Culture: English Religious Women and Books in the Age of Richard Rolle,”Parergon 29.1 (2012): 1-25.

2012 Best Book
Anne Lester
Creating Cistercian Nuns: The Women’s Religious Movement and its Reform in Thirteenth-Century Champagne
(Cornell University Press).†

2011 Best Article
Jennifer Brown
“The Chaste Erotics of Marie d’Oignies and Jacques de Vitry,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 19.1 (2010): 74-93.

2010 Best Book
Elizabeth L’Estrange
Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages (Manchester University Press).

Debra Blumenthal’s Enemies and Familiars: Slavery and Mastery in Fifteenth-Century Valencia (Cornell University Press) and Helene Scheck’s Reform and Resistance: Formations of Female Subjectivity in Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Culture (State University of New York Press) received honorable mentions.

2009 Best Article
Rebecca Winer
“Conscripting the Breast: Lactation, Slavery, and Salvation in the Realms of Aragon and Kingdom of Majorca, c. 1250-1300, Journal of Medieval History 34.2 (2008): 164-184.

2008 Best Book
Virginia Blanton
Signs of Devotion: The Cult of St. Aethelthryth in Medieval England, 695-1615 (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007).

Honorable Mentions:

Andrea Pearson, Envisioning Gender in Devotional Burgundian Art, 1350-1530: Experience, Authority and Resistance (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005).

Paula Ryder, On the Purification of Women: Churching in Northern France, 1100-1500 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Anne Yardley, Performing Piety: Musical Culture in Medieval English Nunneries (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

2007 Best Article
Nicola McDonald
“Games Medieval Women Play,” in Chaucer’s ‘Legend of Good Women’: Context and Reception, ed. Carolyn P. Collette (Boydell & Brewer, 2006). 176-97.

2006 Best Book
Sarah S. Poor
Mechthild of Magdeburg and her Book: Gender and the Making of Textual Authority
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).

2005 Best Article
Jane Chance
“‘Classical Myth and Gender in the Letters of ‘Abelard’ and ‘Heloise’: Gloss, Glossed, Glossator,” in Listening to Heloise: The Voice of a Twelfth-Century Woman, ed. Bonnie Wheeler (St. Martin’s, 2000), 161-185.