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Presidential Prizes

Nominations for this prize are now closed. 

Award Description

In support of its mission to promote the discipline of comparative literature, the American Comparative Literature Association has established two new prizes recognizing student accomplishment in comparative literary study. The President's Awards for Best Master's Thesis and for Best Undergraduate Essay on a Comparative Topic together honor comparative work broadly construed at these important stages of educational achievement. Work will be judged based on theoretical rigor, comparative breadth, and lucidity of exposition. Though not a formal requirement, especially for the Undergraduate essay prize, work that engages in comparison across linguistic boundaries will be especially valued by the committee. The Association welcomes submission of an entry by any institution.

The Presidential Master's Prize goes to the best thesis, report or substantial essay nominated by a department or program at any institution. The Presidential Undergraduate Prize goes to the best substantial essay nominated by a department or program.

The project must be completed by July 1, 2023. The deadline for nominations was October 2, 2023.  Each institution may nominate one student in the field of comparative literature, identified as the best without regard to actual departmental affiliation. The Presidential Master's Prize carries an award of $500 ($250 for the Presidential Undergraduate Prize) and a certificate, complimentary registration for the Annual Meeting, as well as hotel and airfare accommodations** (not including food) to facilitate the recipient attending the 2024 Annual Meeting. (**economy-class airfare roundtrip from wherever the prize winner is located the week before the conference, and hotel accommodation for up to 2 nights at the conference hotel rate, or rough equivalent thereof if the conference hotel is booked).

2023-2024 Presidential Master's Prize Winner:

  • Camellia Pham (Dartmouth College), for thesis "Colonial Translation Turned Vietnamization: Phạm Quỳnh and the Discourse of Transculturation" (CITATION)
Previous Presidential Masters Winners
  • Sarah Manley, University of Utah, for thesis "Persian Miniatures as Textual Unconscious: Illustrations of Layli va Majnun in the 1431 Hermitage Khamsa."
  • 2021-2022: Mariajosé Rodríguez-Pliego (Brown University), for thesis "Reading Futures, Reconfiguring Spaces: Indigenous Cosmovisions Behind the Migration Novels of Leslie Marmon Silko and Yuri Herrera" (CITATION)
  • 2020-2021: No winner selected
  • 2019-2020: Anh Nguyen (Georgetown University), "The Novel of Unlearning: Education, Development, and Interracial Intimacies in Cold War Africa."
  • 2018-2019: No winner selected
  • 2017: Karolina Watroba (University of Oxford), for her thesis "World Literature and Literary Value: Is ‘Global’ the New 'Lowbrow'?" (CITATION)
  • 2016: Elizabeth Gray (Brown University), for her thesis "Dulcinéia Catadora: Cardboard Corporeality and Collective Art in Brazil" (CITATION)
  • 2013: Tavid Mulder (University of Washington), for his thesis, "Terror and Totality: Realism in Juan José Saer’s Glosa" (CITATION)
  • 2012: Ellen Smith (Princeton University), for her thesis, "Different Workers: Katharine Susannah Prichard's Station Writings." (CITATION)
  • 2011: Michal Raizen (University of Texas at Austin), for her thesis, "Reflections of a Jewish ibn 'arab: Language, Identity, and Collectivity in Eli Amir's Yasmin." (CITATION)

2023-2024 Presidential Undergraduate Prize Winner

  • Dominic Pham (Georgetown University), for thesis “The Struggle Continues: Cosmopolitan Encounters and Spatial Disjunctions in Singaporean and Vietnamese Literature.” CITATION
Previous Presidential Undergraduate Winners
  • Elena Steiert (Washington University in St. Louis), for thesis "Ariadne as Heteropessimist: Finding Queer Futures in the Poetry of Catullus, H.D., and Analicia Sotelo." (CITATION)
  • Hilah Kohen (Washington University in St. Louis), "The 'Russian Craze' and the Silver Age: Missed Connections in the Anglophone Canon of Russian Literature." CITATION and Honorable Mention: Andreína Himy (The New School), "Sound and the Limits of Dialogue: Dostoevsky, Faulkner, and Bakhtin." 
  • Max Rowe (Northwestern University) for his essay entitled "Heels, Heels, Heels, Heels, Heels:  Repetition and Mu Shiyings Metropolis" (CITATION)
  • Emma Montgomery (Northwestern University) for her essay entitled "The Diasporic Archive:  A Black Atlantic Poetics of Liberation through Limitation" (2018) (CITATION)
  • Mary Francis Bradford (Northwestern University) for her essay “Performing Frida(,) Performing Indigeneity” (2017) (CITATION)
  • Rosie Williams (Duke University) for her essay, "Paradox of Innocence: Objects and Architecture and the Violence of Space" (2016) (CITATION)
  • Sherilyn Hellberg, for her paper, “Joyce’s “Mamafesta”: On Form, Femininity and the Awakening of ALP” (2014) (CITATION)
    Honorable Mention: Alice Maglio, for her paper “Into the Abyss: Framing in 1001 Nights and The Decameron” (2014) (CITATION)
  • Marissa Rivera (Colorado College), for her paper, "Reflexive Revisionism: Latin American Magical Realism and Australian Postcoloniality in Gould's Book of Fish" (2012) (CITATION)
  • Kirsten Harmon (Georgetown University), for her paper, "Voices of the South. Re-telling History through Fiction in the Works of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez." (2010) (CITATION)
    Honorable Mention: Andrea Yamsuan (University of California at Los Angeles), for her paper, "Possibilities of Paradise in Yeats and Rilke." (2010) (CITATION)

2023-2024 Committee Members

Nomination Guidelines

Nominators should submit a letter or report of one or two pages, outlining the exceptional qualities of the nominated project using the form below.