The Enid Wilson Undergraduate Fellowship supports innovative research by undergraduate honors students from any department pursuing work related to women and gender.
Application materials should include:
- a three to five page description of your research project
- a letter of support from your advisor
- a brief description of how you would use the grant funds, if awarded
Lily Willis ’22.5
Gender and Sexuality Studies, English
"Expressing the Inexpressible," and Other Queer Sentiments: Language and Self in Contemporary Queer Memoir
How do you write yourself? In the field of Gender and Sexuality Studies, many scholars debate the validity of "essentialist" arguments about gender or sexuality. Queer studies has arisen as a stance of critical thought towards the assumptions we make about such things. With thinkers including Leo Bersani and Audre Lorde, Lily Willis's work looks at the way writers use queer memoir as auto-theory, from which they make sense of their own embodied and personal experience. Willis reads Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts, Jeremy Atherton Lin's Gay Bar: Why We Went Out, and Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House with an eye towards the ways each writer constructs what love, desire, gender, and language are and can be. Attentive to the ways these queer memoirists write their own intersecting identities, Willis's work explores the freedom and constraints of language as a tool for self-articulation. By centering the voices of individual writers on their own lives, she invokes the idea that the universal is in the particular. This way, she posits, we can learn from ourselves.