Dorothy Gies McGuigan Prizes
Each year the Women’s Studies Department awards prizes for the best undergraduate and graduate essays on women written at the University of Michigan. The prizes honor the memory of Dorothy Gies McGuigan, a distinguished alumna of the University of Michigan who taught in the School of Business Administration and the Residential College. Dorothy McGuigan was an early supporter of the Women's Studies Program and a founder and member of the editorial board of the University of Michigan Press series on Women and Culture.
"The Sexual Exploitation of Adolescent Girls in Armed Conflict in Colombia"
In lucid prose, this essay explores the ways in which armed conflict in Colombia has subjected girls to sexual violence, even as it has provided them with opportunities to escape abusive or oppressive families by joining armed groups themselves. Elucidating this complex terrain, author Marina Haque compiles and synthesizes an impressive amount of scholarly research on the history of conflict between Colombia's guerrilla and paramilitary groups, the gendered and economic aspects of armed conflict in general, and the particular experiences of women, children, and adolescent girl combatants and victims in Colombia.
Marina Haque is a double major in Biology and Arab, Armenian, Persian, Turkish & Islamic Studies.
“Avatars, Illness, and Authority: Embodied Experience in Breast Cancer Autopathographics”
A brilliantly innovative study that draws from, and itself performs, a generative conversation between trauma theory, narrative theory and visual culture studies, “Avatars, Illness and Authority: Embodied Experience in Breast Cancer Autopathographics” considers the possibilities of the graphic narrative form to register the experience of a temporally uncertain illness differently than other forms of pathography (illness narrative). Focused on two graphic memoirs published in 2006—Marisa Acocella Marchetto's Cancer Vixen and Miriam Engelberg's Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person -- the author masterfully applies the insights of feminist autopathography theory and graphic narrative theory to reveal the representational layers and nuance of autopathographic performance. Ultimately, she argues, the “pictorial embodiment” of cancer that the graphic narrative affords – over and over again, page after page – actually insists on the instability of the embodied subject, the uncertainty of the female body’s relationship to time and its “end,” and the possibilities of self-authored, imaged stories of women’s illness to resist codified and scripted forms.
Emily Waples is a doctoral candidate in English.