Awards: Call for Student Papers


The Sixteenth Annual Elizabeth Phillips Award will be presented this Spring. The award pays tribute to the late Elizabeth Phillips, Professor Emerita of English, for her exceptional scholarly commitment to the advancement of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. A monetary prize and a certificate are awarded to the best undergraduate senior capstone essay/project or honors thesis or graduate student paper (Graduate School, Divinity School, Law School and Master’s Programs at Wake Forest) written on the subject of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies during the current academic year. The winning essay is chosen from among a pool of papers nominated by university faculty. Essays from fall and spring semesters are eligible and calls for nominations should be made accordingly.

Our department this Spring will also honor Mary DeShazer, Professor Emerita of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, through the annual Mary DeShazer Award. This award recognizes the best undergraduate research or analytical paper completed in a WGSS course. Winning papers are chosen from essays nominated by faculty.

The Sylva Billue Award recognizes the best creative nonfiction, creative performance, short play, or visual art (paintings, sculptures). The award honors the late artist, feminist activist, and department benefactor Sylva Billue. Submissions are not limited to the department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, but include work from students across campus.

The submissions will be evaluated on the basis of their relevance to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the quality, coherence, and significance of the work. Every year the winners of these awards will be listed on the website of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies’s Department.

Submission Guidelines:

Faculty ought to:

(1) Get permission from the student for the submission.

(2) Make sure each submission is accompanied by their own email of support, indicating whether the work was done to meet the requirements of a particular class or assignment.

(3) Make sure each submission includes the name of the student, the year of graduation, category (undergraduate or graduate), and student contact information after classes end (mailing address, cell telephone number, and email address).

Students should only submit papers that have been revised according to the recommendations made by their professors when they assigned the grade. Students should proofread all papers for grammatical and typographical errors prior to submission. Papers with such errors will not be awarded a prize. Papers must include a title page with information relative to the class that generated the work, including course number, course name, and instructor name.

Essays must be no more than 25 pages in length.

Submitted papers may come from the Fall Semester of 2021 or Spring Semester of 2022.

All submissions ought to be sent to JaMeiya Estes (

Deadline for all submissions: Friday, May 6, 2022, at 5:00pm.



“Some of Us Are Brave” Symposium – 4/7/2022 at 4pm


Join Dr. Shanna Greene Benjamin, Professor and Chair of the department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Julia Jordan-Zachery, and Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities and director of the Program in African American Studies Corey D. B. Walker for an afternoon of readings and reflections celebrating the 40th anniversary of the publication of the landmark text All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies.

Feminist Zine Workshop – March 23, 2022 at 6pm

WGSS students, Olivia Thonson and Leilani Fletcher, present their honors thesis project as the Feminist Zine Workshop, a counter genealogy of student activism at Wake Forest! You are invited to join the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department for a presentation of Zines within feminist activism and a Zine-making workshop component. Join us on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 from 6:00-7:00pm in Tribble A-204!!!

Bring a friend!!!

Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe: “Decarcerating Disability” – April 5, 2022 at 4pm


REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED! Click here to register!

Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe is an Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her book, Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition (University of Minnesota Press 2020) offers a genealogy of the deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities in the U.S. in the 20th century as a result of the closure of disability institutions. The book connects this history with current prison abolition efforts, laying the groundwork for coalitions between racial and disability justice projects.

This virtual talk is free and open to the public. Live transcription will be provided. For other access needs, please contact This talk has been organized by the Wake Forest Disability Studies Initiative and has been sponsored by the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute with support made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support has been provided by the African American Studies Program, the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Disability Employee Affinity/Support Group, and the Race, Inequality, and Policy Initiative (RIPI).

2022 Annual WFU Student Research Symposium On Gender and Sexuality

2022 Annual WFU Student Research Symposium On Gender and Sexuality
March 18, 2022
Justice During Troubled Times: Engaged Ideas and Lived Experiences


For the 10th anniversary of the annual student research symposium on gender and sexuality, Wake Forest University (U.S.) is partnering with Central European University (Hungary), and Sant’Anna Institute (Italy) to organize a broader colloquium (on March 18th, 2022), featuring moderated virtual sessions of scholarly and creative presentations by graduate and undergraduate students. Taking advantage of the generally wider access to digital platforms, the symposium will enjoy the benefit of international collaborations. Undergraduate and graduate students from institutions around the globe are invited to virtually attend and participate in this symposium in order to showcase the exciting work that they are undertaking on gender/sexuality-related issues across disciplines.

This year’s theme of “Justice During Troubled Times: Engaged Ideas and Lived Experiences” invites a series of dialogues elevating some of the most pressing social, political, and ethical questions that have entered our lives and our college campuses in the last decade. The social justice issues we face today remind us, and the world, of our troubled past; how we deal with them will decide our future. To say that recent years have been unusual would be an understatement. We’ve seen, worldwide, the ravaging course of the Coronavirus pandemics and other natural disasters and their effects on life, the fight against systemic racism, the struggle of social justice movements, the fight of LGBTQ+, and in particular of trans-people, against intolerance, harassment, and violence, discriminating displays of law enforcement, Asian or Muslim hate, gun violence, the assault on voting rights and democratic systems. Issues such as the rapidly exacerbating effects of climate change, wars, food security issues, poverty, body autonomy, and refugee crisis and immigration are only some others of the most pressing social issues humanity has been facing in the last decade.

Our symposium intends to utilize the technological advancements of the world wide web and create meaningful connections and exchanges, sharing the ways in which college students are strategically working at the intersection between social justice, international development, and personal development in order to show how transformative practices rooted in social justice worldviews can help sustain and support feminist ideals that will lead to much sought-for change. At a collective and organizational level, these practices also have the potential to help transform reality in line with feminist commitments to collective action, reflexivity, equity, and justice. Reforms, however, are not enough for justice; we must change and renew our whole way of life, shifting our focus on what Critical Social Justice theory refers to as “lived experiences of oppression,” that is, to life experiences in systemic power dynamics of dominance and oppression that shape society structurally. New models of engaged ideas and innovative action are necessary and have emerged in various places across the world, though they largely remain in the shadows. A new, transformative action or work of care represents the possibility of a communal and better future, which must not only be made visible, but also redistributed and decolonized.

The above are only a handful of ideas for possible directions students might take as they interpret this year’s theme. Proposals involving virtual presentations in the form of traditional papers, poster sessions, or short performances are encouraged, as are submissions of video clips, art work, and other projects in new formats. A digital exhibition will feature the latter submissions. Presentations conducted on Zoom may vary in length but should not exceed 10 minutes (plus five minutes for discussion). We request that you send an abstract (not exceeding 200 words) and a short bio (specifying your status as undergraduate or graduate student) via Google Drive and “share” it with the organizing committee at Please name your document “[title of the presentation],(Your Name).” Abstracts should include the student’s name, the home institution, contact information, a tentative title, and the name of the professor with whom the student is working or has worked (if applicable).

The organizing committee:

Wanda Balzano:
Angéla Kóczé:
Marco Marino:

2021 Annual WFU Student Research Symposium On Gender and Sexuality

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department is hosting our annual student research symposium on March 19, 2021. This year’s theme is “Representation, Resilience, and Renewal”. We are currently accepting papers for this year’s symposium; the submission deadline is February19, 2021.

Please click here to view the complete Call For Papers document.

On Friday, March 19, 2021 Wake Forest University will host its annual student research symposium on gender and sexuality, featuring moderated virtual sessions of scholarly and creative presentations by graduate and undergraduate students. Taking advantage of the generally broad access to digital platforms, the symposium this year enjoys the benefit of transnational collaborations and is organized in partnership with the Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento (Italy). Undergraduate and graduate students from local and international institutions are invited to virtually attend and participate in this symposium in order to showcase the exciting work that they are doing on gender-related issues across disciplines.

This year’s theme of “Representation, Resilience, and Renewal” has the aim of building new and shared understandings across geographies to reflect on where the feminist debate across disciplines and the arts is positioned today and which future direction it will take. The idea of representation addresses a wide spectrum, from the political to the ethical, from freedom of speech to media representation, and is particularly relevant today in the aftermath of the consequential U.S. election, where citizens performed important political actions. The past year, a leap year, has been a dark year for a wealth of reasons connected to ecological, economic, political, social, and health-related upheavals, with discriminating displays of law enforcement and a woeful amount of deaths due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated nearly every kind of social injustice. It has exposed many of the inequalities that shape the life and death conditions of people around the world. It demonstrated, quite graphically, that even in the context of a virus that spreads regardless of one’s identity, human-made systems are at the heart of whose lives matter and whose can be discarded. But it isn’t all doom and gloom: feminist and racial solidarity and resilience are pivotal in times of crises. The pandemic provided the occasion to struggle and organize worldwide.

This international symposium is co-organized with the Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy, and sponsored by the Divinity School and the ZSR Library at Wake Forest University, as well as by the Anna Julia Cooper Center.

WGS service-learning class helps secure grant for El Buen Pastor

Re-posted from Inside WFU: Wake Forest news for faculty and staff

Thanks in part to professor Angéla Kóczé’s service learning course, “Women Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility,” El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services was recently awarded a grant for $24,500 from The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

As part of the course, Kóczé’s students generate social change through entrepreneurship. Under her leadership, she and her students developed a grant proposal to help women in the El Buen Pastor community start their own businesses. The funds awarded by The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem will provide support for training, workshops, networking, seed funding and hands-on experiences to an initial group of 10 women entrepreneurs.

“Higher education as a public space is more than just one individual’s high academic achievement,” says Kóczé, who is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. “It is an arena where critical knowledge is produced and translated in a social reality. Service learning is one of the methods to connect knowledge with relevant social problems. Service learning changes students’ attitudes and challenges them to move beyond the act of charity and instead work towards more systemic changes.”

In classrooms and organizations campuswide, faculty are designing classes with service-learning components. Wake Forest’s Pro Humanitate Institute is the central place to organize and share ideas that will help improve how the University interacts with the world.

“It has been wonderful to be a part of this collaboration between Angéla, her students and the women of the El Buen Pastor community,” said Erika Stewart, director of family literacy at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services. “Each semester built upon the last by helping the women identify the dreams, fears, strengths and obstacles that would become part of the now funded “Full Baskets – Canastos Llenos” program. The students and the women from El Buen Pastor learned from each other, identified differences, and yet also surprised themselves by finding much in common. We are excited and honored to receive this grant from the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, and we are grateful to Angéla and her students for all of their enthusiasm, dedication and support.”

The Pro Humanitate Institute supports community engagement efforts through a small grant program that can be used by faculty to offset costs associated with service learning and community engagement. Grants may be awarded for up to $500 for community engagement. Learn more on the here.