Published: Wednesday, 01 Feb 2017
Author: Galena Marie Rhew Ostipow
Department: Center for Gender in Global Context
The Center for Gender in Global Context conducts this annual undergraduate student paper/project competition, named to honor former women's rights activist and MSU Women's Studies scholar Mary Anderson, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1993. The competition is designed to stimulate research in gender studies and to recognize outstanding work by a young scholar in the field.
The committee chose Bronwyn McVeigh's paper, "Death, Divas and Divorce: Reestablishing Male Dominance Through French Grand Opera," for the Mary Anderson Award for the Best Undergraduate Paper on Women and Gender in Global Perspective this year. "Death, Divas, and Divorce" reconsidered the French opera, Les Huguenots, through a critical historical lens, identifying it as part of a broader tradition of misogynist interpretations of Catherine the Great's role in the Saint Bartholomew's Massacre of 1752. McVeigh's paper was extremely well-written, creative, and original. She displayed strong command of the secondary literature on the subject, while also offering an insightful primary analysis of the opera's music. The author's close examination of the performative elements of the opera, in particular her attention to how sound was utilized to both reveal and critique popular notions of gender set this paper apart from the rest. "Death, Divas, and Divorce" exemplifies both the global commitments of the Center for Gender in a Global Context, as well as the prize's commitment to encouraging undergraduate research.
The committee also awarded a second place paper:
Audrey Schafer, "Pleasurable Shame: Feminist Work in Marilyn Minter"
This research took us on a "pleasurable" and intriguing journey in its examination of the American feminist artist, Marilyn Minter, who is a painter and photographer and who asks us to consider a feminist perspective on the presentation of the body and sexuality, on celebrity and the role of the gaze in contemporary culture. The author of this paper takes us on a journey that explores Minter's work, beginning with Minter's surprising representation of Miley Cyrus, and then incorporates analyses from Edmund Burke, to Adorno and Horkheimer! This is an engagingly written and well-researched paper. The committee wanted to recognize this paper for its creativity and precision, recognizing that though this research is situated in New York, the global reach of Minter's art is worth considering.