2020 New Scholars Award Winners
The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion recognizes four outstanding articles for the 2020 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholars Award. First place was awarded to Pearl Maria Barros for her article “Rethinking Women’s Suffering and Holiness: Gloria Anzaldúa’s ‘Holy Relics’” and second place to Ryan S. Higgins for “He Would Not Hear Her Voice: From Skilled Speech to Silence in 2 Samuel 13:1–22.” There were two third-place co-winners, Jordan Conley for her piece “Voting, Votive, Devotion: ‘I Voted’ Stickers and Ritualization at Susan B. Anthony’s Grave” and Katia Moles for “A Culture of Flourishing: A Feminist Ethical Framework for Incorporating Child Sexual Abuse Prevention in Catholic Institutions”
The two judges (double-blind) for the New Scholars Award provided extensive remarks on the four recipients, commenting specifically on the authors’ commitments to intersectional and interdisciplinary feminist scholarship.
One judge wrote of Barros’s article: “The analysis here exemplifies some of the best of what an intersectional analysis can offer, bringing to bear discourse on religion, gender, race, sexuality, class, and disability simultaneously. Though situated in a very particular place—the work of Chicana feminist thinker and activist Gloria Anzaldúa—the piece addresses larger themes of violence, suffering, and transformation. I especially appreciated attention to Anzaldúa’s thoughts on Christian (Catholic) religiosity, as more work has been done on her inclusion of Indigenous themes. The interpretation takes us to a new place, which is what all good scholarship should do!”
Of Higgins’s article, a judge said, “The writer is a skilled translator and also reader, interpreter of narrative, which may or may not always go together. [Higgins’s] translations are faithful but not clunky. [His] reading of Tamar’s story really brought me to tears. I loved the way that [he] saw how the text deconstructs itself, making Tamar’s voice heard through the echoes of the male speakers and through her own voice as well, even as her silence is functionally important to the Davidic family and empire.”
“I really liked the feminist and religious studies methodology, using ritual (Bell, Orsi) and the references to pilgrimage,” one judge wrote of Conley’s “Votive, Voting, Devotion.” The judges wrote that Moles’s “A Culture of Flourishing” was “well-argued” and that she wisely chose her conversation partners within feminist theological ethics to argue for alternative “norms for a culture of sexual flourishing.”
The Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholars Awards were named in honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, the Co-Founder and Co-Editor of JFSR, on the occasion of her 70th birthday (April 2008). Elisabeth’s contributions to fostering critical feminist scholarship and building solidarity for change run deep and wide. By naming these awards given to promising feminist scholars after Elisabeth, we recognize both the historical impact of her work, as well as the many ways that her acumen and energy continue to enrich, inspire, and advance feminist studies in religion.
The Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza New Scholars Awards signal our awareness of the need to encourage and give recognition to the emerging voices of new scholars, whose research and insights will shape the future of feminist studies in religion.