The Cultural Studies Department is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Andrew Wernick Essay Prize. (The Gregory R. Frith Memorial Prize, awarded for outstanding work in the arts, is delayed this year due to COVID-19.) The Wernick Prize, awarded to the student with the best essay of the year, goes to both Alison Kloosterman and Daniela Leal.
Alison’s paper, written for Jonathan Bordo’s fourth year seminar on art, culture, and theory, is titled “Poetry as Language Game: An Exploration of Mimesis and Experimental Literature through the Works of Aristotle and Wittgenstein.” Carefully argued and theoretically sophisticated, it demonstrates a clear command of Aristotle and Ludwig Wittgenstein. It manages this not only through sheer philosophical rigor, but also through well-chosen examples from poetry Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams are complemented here by the Canadian Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel and the Canadian experimental poet BpNichol.
Daniela’s paper, written for Ian McLachlan’s second year workshop in narrative and performance, is titled “On Language and Liberation.” It ties together somewhat disparate texts – Gayatri Spivak on the subaltern, Paulo Freire on the pedagogy of the oppressed, and WG Sebald on holocaust survivor Jean Amery’s essays – travelling confidently between North and South. The text demonstrates a clear concern with the political and ethical stakes of academic work, Daniela’s own writing included, addressing as it does themes of home and loss in connection with personal and cultural memory, as well as the challenges these pose for narrative and the craft of storytelling.
Both papers are, as one Prize Committee member put it, “demonstrably the basis for further study at the graduate level.” The Department of Cultural Studies offers sincere congratulations to Alison and Daniela, and wishes them luck in their future work.
More information on the Frith and Wernick Prizes, including a list of previous recipients, can be found on our Academic Prizes page.