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Writing Prizes

The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies welcomes your submissions — deadline to submit is Friday, March 29, 2024.

bell hooks Writing Prize in Gender & Women’s Studies

The Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh is pleased to announce the bell hooks Writing Prize in Gender and Women’s Studies, a prize awarded for an outstanding paper on a topic relating to how gender intersects with other social locations such as race, ethnicity, nation, class, sexuality, age, (dis)ability, religion and culture.

Entries should be major essays or research papers at least 1000 words in length. This year’s writing prize, which will be presented at the Arts and Sciences Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony on May 17, 2024, carries with it a cash award of $100. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Plattsburgh College Foundation.

Rules of Eligibility & Procedures for Submission

The final deadline for submission is Friday, March 29, 2024 at noon.

  1. Students must be enrolled as an undergraduate at SUNY Plattsburgh or plan to graduate in spring, summer or fall 2024.
  2. The entry must have been prepared originally for an undergraduate course taken at SUNY Plattsburgh during the student’s baccalaureate program. Students may revise papers prior to submission for the writing prize.
  3. The entry may be in any field — humanities, social sciences, science, or professional studies — but the topic must directly address gender and intersectionality.
  4. The entry must be typed, double-spaced and must not bear the name of the author. To submit, drop off a hard copy to Kirstin Menoff in Redcay 103 or email your entry to [email protected] by the final deadline. Papers will be judged anonymously by the Writing Prize Committee. Judging criteria include conceptual development, organization and style.
The most basic activism we can have in our lives is to live consciously in a nation living in fantasies. Living consciously is living with a core of healthy self-esteem. You will face reality, you will not delude yourself.
bell hooks

About bell hooks

Gloria Jean Watkins (September 25, 1952 – December 15, 2021), known by her pen name bell hooks, was an American author, professor, feminist, and social activist. Spelling her name with no capital letters, she sought to de-emphasize her individual identity so her message and her work was emphasized instead.

She had taught at Stanford University, Yale University, Oberlin College, and The City College of New York before joining Berea College in her home state of Kentucky in 2004. There she founded the bell hooks Institute.

hooks called for a new form of feminism, one that recognized the differences and inequalities among women to create a new, more inclusive movement. She laid the foundation for what we know as intersectional feminism — how women of varying ages, classes, races, and sexual orientations experience discrimination in very different ways. She taught that gender and sexuality are not categories that exist naturally in the world, but have been created and so they can change.

In her work, she sought to end domination through understanding the ways systems of exploitation and oppression intersect through critical thinking, teaching, events, and conversation. hooks argued that the ability to read, write, and think critically are necessary for the feminist movement because without them people may not grow to recognize the gender inequalities in society. She did just that in her own classes, instructing her students to see critical thinking and reading as liberating acts.

Her literary work addressed love, friendship, class, art, history, sexuality, mass media, feminism, as well as the intersectionality of race, capitalism, gender, and what she described as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. Her books had a range of topics like feminism, black men, patriarchy, masculinity, self-help, engaged pedagogy, personal memoirs, and sexuality. She published around 40 books, including works in literary criticism, children’s fiction, self-help, memoir, and poetry. She also published numerous scholarly articles and appeared in documentary films and also participated in public lectures. For more information on the works of bell hooks, visit Where to Start with bell hooks from the New York Public Library.

“I believe wholeheartedly that the only way out of domination is love,” she told the philosopher George Yancy in an interview for The New York Times in 2015, “and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love.”



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