The Catherine Macaulay Graduate Student Prize

The Catherine Macaulay Graduate Student Prize is an annual award made by the Women’s Caucus of ASECS for the best graduate student paper on a feminist or gender studies subject presented at the ASECS Annual Meeting or at any of the regional meetings during the academic year (deadline September 1, 2019).

The 2019  Macaulay Prize Winner: 

Bethany E. Qualls

 The Women’s Caucus is pleased to award this year’s Catherine Macaulay Prize for best graduate student paper on a feminist or gender studies subject to Bethany E. Qualls for her project, “Talking Statues, Treasonous Bishops, and Grave Robbery: Creating the Celebrated Sally Salisbury’s Print Afterlives”

Bethany E. Qualls is a PhD candidate, English Literature, UC Davis. Her dissertation title is “I am become so much the public talk”: Circulation, the Gossip Economy, and the Creation of Worth in Eighteenth-Century Print Culture." Qualls’ essay offers a new and fascinating perspective on the life of Sally Salisbury that pulls from known and previously unknown archival documents to uncover how Salisbury’s celebrity was manufactured through print media. In addition to providing a much-needed historical contextualization of Salisbury, Qualls’ essay also meticulously researches early eighteenth-century celebrity culture by relying on intertextual analysis of Salisbury’s image and commodification. The essay’s use of archival documents to trace Salisbury’s image, persona, and presentation displays how intertwined celebrity, culture, politics, and religion were in the period’s circulation of images and literary commodities. This essay is exceptionally written, and it contributes substantially to the growing fields of celebrity studies, print culture, and women’s history in the long eighteenth century.

Honorable Mention: Erin A. Spampinato

“The Origins of the Rape-As-Aberration Plot; or, was Samuel Richardson a Second Wave Feminist?”

Erin A. Spampinato is a PhD candidate, English Literature, The Graduate Center, CUNY. and a freelance writer and editor. Her dissertation explores representations of rape in eighteenth and nineteenth-century British novels
Spampinato’s essay offers a transformative view of rape studies that shifts definitions of normative and violent sexual encounters. The essay is remarkable for its breadth and far-reaching revision of the history of rape and moral condemnation, as separate but related to legal definitions. Spampinato’s essay locates dramatic changes in cultural, legal, and ethical understandings of rape in the eighteenth century using Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, offering a reconsideration of this canonical text as well as implications for how in our own time we understand the relationship between sex, violence, and desire.

Visit for the full list of past winners.