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Charles Bernheimer Prize

Nominations for this prize are now closed. 

Award Description

The Bernheimer Prize goes to the best dissertation nominated by a department or program. The dissertation must have been defended in the year prior to July 1, 2023. Each institution may nominate one dissertation in the field of comparative literature, identified as the best without regard to actual departmental affiliation. We regret that we are unable to adjudicate dissertations in languages other than English at this time.

The prize carries an award of $1,000 and a certificate, complimentary registration for the Annual Meeting, as well as airfare and hotel accommodations** (not including food) to facilitate the recipient attending the 2024 ACLA Annual Meeting. (**roundtrip economy-class airfare will be covered and hotel accommodation for up to 2 nights at the conference hotel rate, or rough equivalent thereof if the conference hotel is booked).

2022-2023 Winners

  • Hannah Cole (Yale University) for dissertation A Thorny Way of Thinking: Botanical Afterlives of Caribbean Plantation Slavery. (CITATION)

  • Honorable Mention, Vedran Catovic (University of Michigan) for dissertation Narrative Satire in Context: The Journey and Wisdom in West and East Europe. (CITATION)

  • Honorable Mention, Ahmad Nadalizadeh (University of Oregon) for dissertation Repetition Beyond Representation: Media, History and Event in Iran, 1951-1990. (CITATION)

Nomination Requirements

To nominate a dissertation for the 2023-2024 Bernheimer Prize, please notify the ACLA Secretariat ( by October 23, 2023

Nominators should submit a letter or report of one or two pages, outlining the exceptional qualities of the nominated dissertation. Copies of the nominating letter should be emailed, along with copies of the dissertation, to each member of the committee. Please note that we will not accept hard copies this year and ask that all documents are emailed

2023-2024 Charles Bernheimer Prize Committee

  • Anthony Alessandrini (Kingsborough Community College & City University of New York), Term: 2021-2024
  • Jonathan Culler (Cornell), Term: 2022-2025
  • Lynn Itagaki (University of Missouri), Term: 2023-2026

Previous Bernheimer Winners

  • Helen Makhdoumian (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) for dissertation A Map of This Place: Memory and The Afterlives of Removal. CITATION (2022)

  • Honorable Mention, Františka Schormova (Charles University) for dissertation African American Poets Abroad: Black and Red Allegiances in Early Cold War Czechoslovakia. CITATION (2022)

  • Maziyar Faridi (Northwestern University) for dissertation On an Aporetic Poetics of Relation: Translation, Difference and Identity in Modern Poetry and New Wave Cinema of Iran. CITATION (2021)

  • Emily Sibley (New York University) for dissertation Uncivil Tongues: Genealogies of Adab in Arab Culture. CITATION (2021)

  • Kritish Rajbhandari (Northwestern University) for his dissertation Anarchival Drift and the Limits of Community in Indian Ocean Fiction. CITATION (2020)

  • William C. Stroebel (University of Michigan) for his dissertation "Fluid Books Fluid Borders:  Modern Greek and Turkish Book Networks in a Shifting Sea" (CITATION) (2019)

  • Katherine “Katie” Kadue, (University of California, Berkeley), for her dissertation Domestic Georgic from Rabelais to Milton (CITATION) (2018)

  • Amir Khadem (University of Alberta) for his dissertation  Endemic Pains and Pandemic Traumas: The Narrative Construction of Public Memory in Iran, Palestine, and the United States (CITATION) (2018)

  • Kristin Ann Dickinson (University of California, Berkeley) for her dissertation, "Translation and the Experience of Modernity: A History of German-Turkish Connectivity." (CITATION) (2017)
  • Eugenia Kelbert (Yale University) for her dissertation "Acquiring a Second Literature: Patterns in Translingual Writing from Modernism to the Moderns". (CITATION)
    Ramsey McGlazer (University of California, Berkeley) for his dissertation, "Old Schools: Modernism, Pedagogy, and the Critique of Progress". (CITATION)
  • John H. Kim (Harvard University) for his dissertation "The Poetics of Diagram" (2015). (CITATION)
    Tristram Wolff (University of California, Berkeley) for his dissertation "Romantic Etymology and Language Ecology" (2015).  (CITATION)
  • Shaul Setter (University of California, Berkeley) for his dissertation "After the Fact: Potential Collectivities in Israel/Palestine" (2014). (CITATION)
  • Julia Chi Yan Ng (Northwestern University) for her dissertation "Conditions of Impossibility: Failure and Fictions of Perpetual Peace" (2013). (CITATION)
    David Simon (University of California, Berkeley) for his dissertation "Careless Engagements: Literature, Science, and the Ethics of Indifference in Early Modernity" (2013 Honorable Mention). (CITATION)
  • Lily Gurton-Wachter (University of California - Berkeley) for her dissertation "Keeping Watch: Wartime Attention and the Poetics of Alarm around 1800" (2012). (CITATION)
  • Bishupal Limbu (Northwestern University) for his dissertation "Fiction, Theory, and Social Justice: Dispropriative Readings" (2011). (CITATION)
  • Elizabeth Young (UC Berkley), for her dissertation, "The Mediated Muse: Catullan Lyricism and Roman Translation" (2010). (CITATION)
  • Jonathan Brook Haley (University of California - Irvine) for his dissertation "Atomic Poetry: Materialist Rhythms in Lucretius, Du Bellay, and Mallarmé" (2009). (CITATION)
  • Marisa Galvez (Stanford University), for her dissertation, "Medium as Genre: A Historical Phenomenology of the Medieval Songbook in the Occitan, German, and Castilian Traditions" (2008). (CITATION)
  • Karen Laura Thornber (Harvard University), for "Cultures and Texts in Motion: Negotiating and Reconfiguring Japan and Japanese Literature in Polyintertextual East Asian Contact Zones (Japan, Semicolonial China, Colonial Korea, Colonial Taiwan)" (2007). (CITATION)
  • Ilya Kliger (Yale University), for "Truth, Time and the Novel: Veridiction in Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Balzac" (2006). (CITATION)
    Honorable Mention: Irene Perciali (University of California - Berkeley), for "Personifying Capitalism: Economic Imagination, the Novel, and the Entrepreneur" (2006). (CITATION)
  • Shaden Tageldin (University of California - Berkeley), for "Disarming Words: Reading (Post)Colonial Egypt's Double Bond to Europe" (2005). (CITATION)
    Honorable Mention: Jutta Maria Gsoels-Lorensen (Yale University), for "Epitaphic Remembrance: Representing a Catastrophic Past in Second Generation Texts" (2005). (CITATION)
  • Stephanie Glaser (Indiana University), for "Explorations of the Gothic Cathedral in Nineteenth-Century France" (2004). (CITATION)
  • Emily Wilson (Yale University), for "'Why do I Overlive?' Greek, Latin, and English Tragic Survival" (2003).
  • Christopher Paul Bush (University of California - Los Angeles), for "Ideographies: Figures of China and Japan in Modern French Literature" (2002).
    Runners up: Aiko Okamoto MacPhail (Indiana University), for "Imagining Modernity: European Japonism and Japanese Westernism" (2002) and Max Statkiewicz (State University of New York - Stony Brook), for "Theatrum Platonicum: New Perspectives on the 'Old Quarrel' between Philosophy and the Theater" (2002).