2016-2017 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.


Alisa Bé (English)

Alise BeAlisa Bé’s dissertation, Women’s Participation in the Political Public Sphere: Redefining the Form of Narrative Satire, 1790-1880, is both timely in challenging traditional literary periodization and original in its pioneering complication of satire, traditionally seen as a masculine genre.  Focusing on the satirical novels of Elizabeth Inchbald, Mary Hays, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot, the dissertation argues that the function of satire for women novelists is to give them a voice in the public domain.  By tracing the relationship among women writers from the traditionally defined Romantic and Victorian periods through nuanced close textual analysis, the study adds an important perspective to scholarship currently redefining the contours of this pivotal period in literary history.


Bradley Christopher Rittenhouse (English)

Bradley Christopher RittenhouseBradley Christopher Rittenhouse’s study, TMI: The Data-Driven Literature of the American Renaissance, argues that much of the aesthetic innovation of nineteenth-century American literature came about through collecting, storing, organizing, and manipulating information newly available in urban spaces, thereby challenging the binary of the data-driven and the aesthetic.  The dissertation participates in the emerging field of the digital humanities by bringing the discipline’s fresh insights not only to the study of canonical writers such as Melville and Whitman but to considering the effect on women and minority writers who did not enjoy the access that these canonical writers had to data via education and the press.