2009-2010 Winners

This annual award, which carries a $500 prize, has been established with the generous support of Guido Ruggiero, Professor of History, in memory of his brother, David John Ruggiero.


Allison Johnson (English)

Allison JohnsonAllison Johnson’s dissertation, "Virtue’s Friends": The Politics of Friendship in Early Modern English Women’s Writing, exhibits a capacious knowledge of an important topic in the humanities, a thorough examination of historical contexts, a broad interdisciplinary appeal, and a clear and cogent presentation. Demonstrating her mastery of classical, humanist, and contemporary theoretical writings on friendship, she persuasively argues for seventeenth-century Englishwomen’s imaginative and strategic revision of the received discourse of friendship that excluded women--in genres ranging from poetry of various kinds, drama, historical chronicle, and letters. The result is a contribution that not only brings a new critical perspective to these works, but will also enable a deeper understanding of women’s participation in politics and political thought in early modern England.


Sabrina Wengier (MLL)

Sabrina WengierSabrina Wengier’s dissertation, The Politics and Poetics of Ekphrasis in Nineteenth-Century French Art Novels, engages in substantial interdisciplinary research with rich humanities content, by addressing art, art criticism, aesthetics, literature, and history in the context of nineteenth-century French art novels by Zola, Balzac, and the Goncourts, while paying careful attention to the politics of gender representation. The dissertation also addresses the challenging topic of ekphrasis in an approachable and comprehensible way.  Her work—erudite and theoretically sophisticated—demonstrates an impressive command of scholarship in three languages: French, German, and English.  In addition, Wengier provides a thorough historical and geographical contextualization of her subject matter and makes important contributions to the fields of French nineteenth-century literary and art studies.