Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association

Previous Winners

The MMLA congratulates the 2021 winner of the Graduate Student Paper Prize: Jamie Chen of The University of Iowa. Chen's paper, "The Ends of Imagination: Trauma Narrative in Arundhati Roy's Prose and Politics," compares stylistic techniques in Roy's nonfiction and fiction, specifically the printer’s marks in The Greater Common Good and The God of Small Things, and analyzes how they are functioning differently in a trauma narrative. The paper’s title is a reference to Roy’s first political essay, “The End of Imagination,” and the analysis looks at the two interpretations of “ends,” both in terms of limitations in her works, as well as the conclusion she seeks to achieve through them, positing that Roy’s multiple forms of storytelling indicates an Imagination that is Endless.

Jamie Chen is an international graduate student and fourth-year English PhD candidate at the University of Iowa. Her research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century-Anglophone novels, cosmopolitan readership, and the novel as aesthetic and material form. She is especially drawn to the political potential of unintended readers, unexpected textual circulation, and individual readerly affect that does not conform to conventional models of pleasure or disgust. Besides studying narrative structure, she is also pursuing a certificate with the Center of the Book to support her work with manuscripts and small letterpress publications.


2019 - Maria Capecchi, University of Iowa

"Practicing the Work of Worms: Lyric Voice and Grievable Lives in Solmaz Sharif’s Look"


2018 - Zachary Powell, University of Rochester

"Women at War: WWI, Patriarchy, and Conflict in Wonder Woman (2017)"


2017 - Celia Martínez-Sáez, The Ohio State University

"The Forgotten Flesh: Confronting Western Epistemologies through Parody in Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco´s 'Couple in the Cage'"


2016 - Lydia Craig, Loyola University Chicago

"The Juvenile and the Erudite: A Study of Marginalia in Newberry Case Y 12.T219"


2015 - Wietske Smeele, Vanderbilt University

"Grounding Miasma, or Anticipating the Germ Theory of Disease in Victorian Cholera Satire"


2014 - Courtney Scuro, California State University, Long Beach

"Placing and Playing the Past: History, Politics, and Spatial Ambiguity in Richard Mulcaster's The Queen's Majesty's Passage"


2013 - Tony M. Vinci, Southern Illinois University

"Posthuman Wounds: Simulating Trauma in Philip K. Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'"