2020 National Women’s Studies Association and University of Illinois Press First Book Prize

It’s that time of year again! The University of Illinois Press and the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) are pleased to continue the annual competition for the best dissertation or first book manuscript by a single author in the field of women’s and gender studies.

Applicants must be National Women’s Studies Association members. The Press and NWSA seek nonfiction manuscripts that exemplify cutting-edge intersectional feminist scholarship, whether the area of focus is historical or contemporary. The competition is open to scholars from all disciplinary backgrounds, but the sponsoring organizations especially encourage work that speaks effectively across disciplines, and projects that offer new perspectives on concerns central to the field of women’s and gender studies.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Activism
  • Coloniality, postcoloniality, and neo-imperialism
  • Cultural production (media, film, music, literature)
  • Feminist knowledge production
  • Feminist pedagogy
  • Feminist politics
  • Feminist science and environmental studies
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender and disability
  • Gender and globalization
  • Gender and labor practices
  • Gender and militarism
  • Gender and queer sexuality
  • Gender and violence
  • Gendered experiences of people of color
  • Girls studies
  • Global and transnational feminisms
  • Institutions and public policies
  • Intersectionality
  • Theories and practices of coalition
  • Transgender studies
  • Women of color feminists

If a winner of the competition is selected, they will receive a publication contract with the University of Illinois Press. Runners up may also be considered for publication with the University of Illinois Press.

Basic Guidelines

Submitted dissertations must have been completed and defended within the three years prior to submission. All submissions must be timestamped by 11:59pm (central time) on June 1 and should include the following materials via email:

  • Current NWSA individual membership
  • Cover letter (be sure to indicate if any material from the manuscript has been previously published)
  • C.V.
  • Proposal, including a 4-5 page overview of the scope of the project and analysis of competing titles
  • Complete manuscript, at least 150 double spaced pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, saved as a PDF
  • Submit materials as attachments to a single email. In the email subject line, include “Last name_Year NWSA/UIP First Book Prize Submission.”

The winner will be announced at NWSA’s annual conference and will receive a $1,000 advance. All submissions must be exclusive submissions to the University of Illinois Press for the duration of the contest.

Please direct all questions and book proposal submissions to:
Dawn Durante
Senior Acquisitions Editor
University of Illinois Press


2019 Winner:

Shamara Wyllie Alhassan

Re-Membering the Maternal Goddess: Rastafari Women’s Intellectual History and Activism in the Pan-African World

2018 Winners:

Wen Liu

Assembling Asian America: Psychological Technologies and Queer Subjectivities

Nishant Upadhyay

Indians on Indian Lands: Intersections of Race, Caste, and Indigeneity

2017 Winner:

Nicosia M. Shakes

Gender, Race and Performance Space: Women’s Activism in Jamaican and South African Theatre

2017 Honorable Mention:

Elizabeth Verklan

Objects of Desire: Feminist Inquiry, Transnational Feminism, and Global Fashion

2016 Winner:

Michele Eggers

Embodying Inequality: The Criminalization of Women for Abortion in Chile

2015 Winner:

Erin L. Durban-Albrecht

Postcolonial Homophobia: United States Imperialism in Haiti and the Transnational Circulation of Antigay Sexual Politics

2014 Winner:

Ethel Tungohan

Migrant Care Worker Activism in Canada: From the Politics of Everyday Resistance to the Politics from Below

2013 Winner:

Christina Holmes

Ecological Borderlands: Body, Nature, and Spirit in Chicana Feminism

2012 Winner:

Sophie Richter-Devroe

Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival

2011 Winner:

Erica Lorraine Williams

Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements

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