Previous Paper Prize Winners

Graduate Student Paper Prize

The MMLA congratulates the 2023 winner of the Graduate Student Paper Prize: Vivian Lei of Columbia University. Her paper, "Writing Affect In/Through Body Parts: The Aggressive Affectivity of Melancholia in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée," is a comparative study between Korean American writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's poetry and the anatomical exhibit of Chang and Eng Bunker at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. Her research delves into the history of anatomical science and sheds light on its intricate connections with visual representations of race and racialized bodies. This historical context not only sheds light on Cha's recourse to anatomical aesthetics in Dictée. Yet, Cha's work, in appropriating the representational logic of scientific racism, constructs a different affective and cultural politics that actively imagines biology as the ground for Asian American racial coalition. 

Vivian Lei is a first-year Ph.D. student from the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her research interests include contemporary Asian American literary and cultural productions, affect theory, and theories of race/racialization.

Previous Winners

MMLA Convention Graduate Student Title of Paper


Hannah Wolsey, Missouri State University

The Privilege of Inquiry: Using Problem-Posing Education to Subvert Censorship of Diverse Perspectives


Jamie Chen, The University of Iowa

The Ends of Imagination: Trauma Narrative in Arundhati Roy's Prose and Politics


Maria Capecchi, University of Iowa

Practicing the Work of Worms: Lyric Voice and Grievable Lives in Solmaz Sharif’s Look


Zachary Powell, University of Rochester

Women at War: WWI, Patriarchy, and Conflict in Wonder Woman (2017)


Celia Martínez-Sáez, The Ohio State University

The Forgotten Flesh: Confronting Western Epistemologies through Parody in Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco´s "Couple in the Cage"


Lydia Craig, Loyola University Chicago

The Juvenile and the Erudite: A Study of Marginalia in Newberry Case Y 12.T219


Wietske Smeele, Vanderbilt University

Grounding Miasma, or Anticipating the Germ Theory of Disease in Victorian Cholera Satire


Courtney Scuro, California State University, Long Beach

Placing and Playing the Past: History, Politics, and Spatial Ambiguity in Richard Mulcaster's The Queen's Majesty's Passage


Tony M. Vinci, Southern Illinois University

Posthuman Wounds: Simulating Trauma in Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

 Undergraduate Student Paper Prize

The MMLA congratulates the 2023 winner of the Undergraduate Student Paper Prize: Paige Parker of Saint Mary's College. Her paper, "Poetry and Democracy: Ada Limón and the Role of the Poet Laureate," examines how the Poet Laureate of the United States attempts to uphold democracy by serving as the poet of the people. By using postcolonial and critical race studies as tools for the intersectional analyses of oppression, this project addresses how the current PLOTUS Ada Limón speaks to the widely held democratic values of working towards racial justice and reaffirming Latinx and indigenous identities. Consequently, this project demonstrates that Limón interrogates the nation by not only critiquing its political structure but by drawing attention to the inherent hypocrisy of the United States, a country that promotes inclusion and accessibility while ignoring the history of power imbalance and grave injustices against people of color and women. 

Previous Winners

MMLA Convention


Undergraduate Student

Title of Paper


1st Place

Chloë Moore, Macalester College

The Orientalist Parallelogram


1st Place

Emily Schlorf, Butler University

Mothering Matters: A Lacanian Explanation of Clare’s Death in Nella Larsen’s Passing


1st Place

Saiham Sharif, Grinnell College

Reconciling the Double Self: The Sympathizer as Adaptation of Hamlet


Honorable Mention

Allison Monterastelli, Loyola University Chicago

Inverted Tropes of Gender Performativity in The Wife of Bath’s Tale and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight