Winning and Short-Listed Entries from the 2011 Feminist and Women's Studies Association's Annual Student Essay Competition

By Mitra-Kahn, Trishima; Perrier, Maud | Journal of International Women's Studies, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Winning and Short-Listed Entries from the 2011 Feminist and Women's Studies Association's Annual Student Essay Competition


Mitra-Kahn, Trishima, Perrier, Maud, Journal of International Women's Studies


In this special issue of the Journal of International Women's Studies (JIWS), the Feminist and Women's Studies Association UK & Ireland (FWSA) is delighted to present the winner and the shortlisted entries of its annual student essay competition. The FWSA was founded in 1987 as a network of scholars with research interests in feminist and women's studies. Today we are a national association with over 300 members and our members' scholarship range from the social and health sciences to the arts and the humanities. The FWSA's principal mission is to promote feminist research and teaching, whilst providing support for productive collaborations among both scholars and students. To this end, we run an annual small grants competition which funds collaborative postgraduate research events, an annual book prize which rewards ingenuity and scholarship in the fields of feminism, gender and women's studies, alongside our biennial international conference, workshops, and seminars.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the FWSA's collaboration with the JIWS. In 2004, JIWS published a special issue showcasing the winner and shortlisted entries from the FWSA's very first student essay competition. JIWS's dedication to providing 'a forum for scholars, activists, and students to explore the relationship between feminist theory and various forms of organizing' ensured that our collaboration was not a one-off phenomenon and laid the ground work for the publication of an annual special issue. The journal's advancement of interdisciplinary scholarship and promotion of cross-cultural perspectives has always been underpinned by an unwavering commitment to research accessibility, as evidenced by its open-access policy. It is for these reasons that publishing an annual special issue in the JIWS is so important to the FWSA, since it provides students in the UK and Ireland with an incomparable opportunity to locate themselves within wider feminist debates and discussions through which international networks and partnerships can develop.

In recognising student scholarship, JIWS continues to facilitate the FWSA in supporting students in what is an increasingly challenging academic environment. We would like to give our sincere thanks to the JIWS for its sustained interest in encouraging, promoting, and celebrating a new generation of feminist scholarship. To all those who submitted entries and to our judges Drs Nazneen Ahmed, Ruth Lewis, and Maud Perrier, we extend our sincere thanks.

The Essays

Each year, the FWSA student essay competition attracts thought-provoking work that aims to develop and push the boundaries of feminist theory and women's studies through debate, discussion, and analysis. The essays published in this issue particularly highlight the reach of feminist perspectives across disciplines as diverse as Sociology, Economics, History, Literature and Linguistics, and Law.

This year's shortlist of essays is also marked by its critical analysis of gender across a range of cultural and historical contexts. Two of the essays in this issue consider the relationship between war and gender and highlight the ways in which both war and anti-war activities are important sites for the reproduction and renegotiation of masculinity and femininity. Both Say Burgin and Nancy Martin pay close attention to the ways in which gender can be simultaneously upheld and contested thus giving us a complex account of gendered contradictions in the US' anti Vietnam war movement and the First World War's western front. A common theme linking Kathryn Telling and Emily Henderson's contributions is the attention both authors have paid to the struggles and successes of feminist knowledge production. Whereas Telling provides a re-reading of Mary Daly's work as an example of how the boundaries of feminist studies are patrolled, Henderson's analysis of an economics lecture demonstrates the simultaneous success and failure of feminist positions in the Economics discipline. …

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