Annual Dissertation Prize

The Eric O. Clarke Dissertation Prize, jointly awarded by CLST and the Department of English, recognizes graduate students in English or CLST PhD certificate-holders (from any department in the Dietrich School) whose dissertations are of high quality and which centrally address one or more of the following fields of inquiry:  

  1. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) studies, queer theory;
  2. Feminist studies, feminist theory;
  3. Philosophy, critical theory, literary theory; or
  4. British or comparative literature and culture from the 18th to the 21st centuries.

The Eric O. Clarke Dissertation Prize, first awarded in 2013, was generously created in August 2011 by Dr. Petra Dierkes-Thrun (PhD ’03) and her husband, Dr. Sebastian Thrun, in memory of Dr. Clarke, who was a faculty member in the English Department and Cultural Studies from 1992 until his death in 2010.  Eric did innovative work in nineteenth-century British literary studies and sexuality studies.  He joined Pitt’s faculty as an assistant professor in 1992 and was promoted to associate professor in 1998.  Dr. Clarke served as the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies from 2001 to 2006, and he taught the CLST common seminar.

To be considered for the prize, the dissertation must be nominated unanimously by the student’s dissertation committee. Self-nominations are not accepted. For dissertations being nominated under the CLST-certificate eligibility provision for August and December 2018 or April 2019 degree dates, committee nomination letters and a CD copy of the dissertation itself must be submitted by May 15, 2019 to:

Professor Ronald J. Zboray
Director of the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies
401c Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Avenue
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh PA 15260

The winner of the $500 prize will be announced in September 2019. The Prize committee reserves the right not to award the prize in any given year, however, should the pool of nominees be judged insufficient to satisfy the award guidelines.