The PSA Women and Politics Specialist Group is delighted to announce the winners of our annual Undergraduate Essay Competition. This year’s judge, PSA Women and Politics Co-Convenor Dr. Fran Amery (University of Bath), noted the outstanding quality of this year’s essays, stating: ‘This was a difficult contest to judge due to the extremely high overall standard of the essays submitted, which contained nuanced critical discussion of a range of issues in gender and politics and feminist political theory. Subjects ranged from the gendering of civil wars and peace processes, the effect of the media on gendered party campaigning, and the substantive representation of women and men, to the relevance of intersectionality to feminist theory. All of the candidates should be proud of their work.’
Our 2015 winners are:
First Prize – Letty Davis (SOAS): ‘Pinkwashing and Homonationalism: Gender, Sexuality, and Power in Israel’
The judge said: ‘This essay (submitted by Dr Rahul Rao) explores the interplay between hard and soft power in world politics through a discussion of ‘pinkwashing’ and homonationalism in Israel. The essay contends that Israel maintains a balance between unrivalled regional military strength and cultural appeal to the West through its display of democratic and pro-LGBT values, and goes on to explore the interplay between these two facets of power in the sexualisation of IDF soldiers in the Israeli pornographic film Men of Israel. The nuanced handling and seamless integration of queer theory, postcolonial theory and the more mainstream International Relations literature make this essay truly worthy of first prize.’
Second Prize – Natalie Lovell (University of Leeds): ‘Critically examine the importance of ‘intersectionality’ for feminist political theory and activism’
The judge said: ‘This essay (submitted by Dr Alexa Athelstan) draws on the work of Anna Carastathis to argue that intersectionality provides four principal benefits to feminist political theory: simultaneity, complexity, irreducibility and inclusivity. Each of these analytical benefits is exposited with textbook-perfect precision, and the essay demonstrates an extremely sophisticated grasp of the intersectionality literature.’
Congratulations Letty and Natalie!