Sam Eldridge wins 2015 WGSRF National Undergraduate Essay Prize

Sam Eldridge has won the Women's and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (WGSRF) National Undergraduate Essay Prize for 2015.

The selection committee praised Sam's paper, "’Climbing the Mountain’: Negotiating Dis/Ability and Fitness," describing it as "a sophisticated piece of scholarship. The question driving this essay is: how do “people feel about exercising with disabled, impaired, ill and chronically pained bodies that fall outside the (slippery) boundary of ‘normal’.” Considering this, the author weaves together academic and activist writings, personal narrative, and the research materials gained from series of interviews. Throughout, this essay demonstrates a commitment to social justice, particularly as it brings together a host of situated knowledges, valuing personal experience as a meaningful mode of knowledge-production. As the author explains, “in writing the following pages [they] got to know 5 bodies—[their] own, in greater depth, and those of four interviewees.” Allowing their reader access to this process, the author demonstrates a profound level of vulnerability, self-reflexivity, and a strong commitment to feminist models of situated knowledge. ... What makes “Climbing the Mountain” a truly unique piece of writing is the explicit and consistent presence of the author’s body, and its fraught relationship to fitness, disability, and normality. The author demonstrates a profound level of self-reflexivity and vulnerability throughout this essay, both central to strong and meaningful feminist literature.”

Congratulations, Sam!