The Graduate Awards Committee is pleased to announced the winners of the program's Peer Essay Prizes for 2021.
First prize went to Hollis Druhet for “On Blackness and Indigeneity, or the Shape that Freedom Might Take: A Field Survey and Paired Reading of CITIZEN and WHEREAS.” The committee lauded Druhet’s essay as an “ambitious” and “highly original” analysis of the intersection of land repatriation and abolition. Druhet proposes that poetry develops a "grammar of convergence" to articulate new bases for Black-Indigenous solidarity toward social justice, including forms of citizenship outside the land-bound assumptions of settler colonialism.
Helen Makhdoumian won honorable mention for “We are Here: Witnesses to Disappearing History and Writing against Erasure.” In this essay, culled from a dissertation chapter, Makhdoumian shows how post-diasporic novels can map not only the memories of communities driven from homelands, but also the settler colonialists' attempts to eliminate those memories. The essay was described by one of the committee members as a “beautiful and deeply researched way of commemorating the Armenian genocide.”