Pembroke Center
Tags Graduate

Marie J. Langlois Dissertation Prize

Funding Opportunities

The Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women annually awards the Marie J. Langlois Dissertation Prize for an outstanding dissertation in the area of women's, gender, and or/sexuality studies.

Awardees must be nominated by faculty; a selection committee chooses the prizewinner.

Marie J. Langlois became a trustee emerita of the Corporation in 2007 having previously served as trustee and vice chancellor of the University since 1998.  She served as a member of the Board of Fellows from 1992 to 1998, as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1985, and as a trustee and treasurer of the University from 1988 to 1992. She received an A.B.  from Brown in 1964 and a master's of business administration from Harvard University in 1967. Ms. Langlois is a retired managing director of Washington Trust Investors, and serves on the boards of directors of the Rhode Island Foundation, Lifespan, Salve Regina University, Rhode Island Philharmonic and Music School, and Rhode Island Public Radio.

Each year the Pembroke Center awards this prize for a dissertation in areas related to women's, gender, and/or sexuality studies or feminist analysis. If you wish to nominate a dissertation, please email the following to by 1:00 pm on the current nomination date:  

    • A nominating letter including a brief description of the dissertation
    • A letter of support from a second member of the dissertation committee
    • A copy of the dissertation

    The Marie J. Langlois Prize carries with it an award of $1,000.

    2023 Recipient

    Nell Lake
    Nell Lake

    Nell Lake Ph.D. ‘23, English

    Nell Lake won the Marie J. Langlois Prize for her dissertation, “Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid: Women, Race, and the Politics of Care in America since 1900." This dissertation analyzes the cultural politics of women’s care labors in America, tracing these politics through the 20th- and 21st-century United States. It devotes a chapter each to four gender-racialized figures of care: the mother, the nurse, the housewife, and the maid. Examining a range of sources from the Progressive era to today—including a 1901 mothering manual; nursing memoirs from the World Wars; postfeminist 1990s television shows; Trump-era cultural texts; and the words of domestic-worker activists—Lake argues that the work of caring for others has been at the center of enduring American political struggle. While women of all races have been subjugated by care labors, white women’s care has also been culturally elevated. White women and men across the political spectrum take up care in ways that serve their political interests. Meanwhile Black and brown women’s care is often denigrated, except when it serves whiteness.

    This dissertation makes sense of, and traces struggle over, the racialization of women’s care. It helps to bridge a gap in feminist scholarship by synthesizing care-ethics and racial-justice perspectives. It argues for a lens that Lake calls care justice, which joins concern for care, for gender equity in care labors, and for racial equity in access to well-being.


    Past Recipients

    • 2022 - Melanie Y. White, Africana Studies
      “What Dem Do To We No Have Name: Intimate Colonial Violence, Autonomy, and Black Women’s Art in Caribbean Nicaragua”

    • 2021 - Whitney Arey, Anthropology
      “Abortion as Care: Affective and Biosocial Experiences of Abortion Access and Decision-Making”

    • 2020 - Virginia Thomas, American Studies
      “Dark Trees: Regional Archives of Familial Intimacy, Lynching Violence, and Racial Reproduction in the US South”
    • 2019 - Shamara Alhassan, Africana Studies
      “Rastafari Women’s Intellectual History and Activism in the Pan-African World”
    • 2018 - Anne Gray Fischer, History
      “Arrestable Behavior: Women, Police Power, and the Making of Law-and-Order America, 1930s-1980s”
    • 2017 - Nicosia M. Shakes, Africana Studies
      “Africana Women’s Theatre as Activism: A Study of Sistren Theatre Collective, Jamaica and the Mothertongue Project, South Africa”
    • 2016 - Natalie Adler, Comparative Literature
      “Beyond the Poetic Principle: Psychoanalysis and the Lyric”
    • 2015 - Erin K. Krafft, Slavic Studies
      “Reading Revolution in Russian Women’s Writing: Radical Theories, Practical Action, and Bodies at Work”
    • 2014 - Margaret Hennefeld, Modern Culture and Media
      “Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes”
    • 2013 - Sohini Kar, Anthropology
      “Credible Lives: Microfinance, Development and Financial Risk in India”
    • 2012 - Daphna Oren-Magidor, History
      “‘Make me a Fruitful Vine’: Dealing with Infertility in Early Modern England”
    • Pooja Rangan, Modern Culture & Media
      “Automatic Ethnography: Otherness, Indexicality, and Humanitarian Visual Media”
    • 2011 - Corey McEleney, English
      “The Pleasure in Error: Early Modern Romance and Poetic Futility”
    • Kathleen Millar, Anthropology
      “Reclaiming the Discarded: The Politics of Labor and Everyday Life on Rio’s Garbage Dump”
    • 2010 - Maya D. Judd, Anthropology
      “Gendering Men: Masculinities and Demographic Change in Contemporary Italy”
    • 2009 - Erin M. Parker, Sociology
      “Social Disparities and Breastfeeding in the United States”
    • 2008 - Philip Alexander Walsh, Comparative Literature
      “Comedy and Conflict: The Modern Reception of Aristophanes”
    • 2007 - Tess Leina Takahashi, Modern Culture & Media
      “Impure Film: Medium Specificity and the North American Avant-Garde (1965-2005)”
    • 2006 - Asha Nadkarni, English
      “Reproductive Nationalism: Eugenic Feminist Literature in the U.S. and India”
    • 2005 - Elyse Deeb, History of Art & Architecture
      “The Architecture of Reception: Sculpture and Gender in the 1950s and 1960s”
    • 2004 - Almudena Sevilla Sanz, Economics
      “Time Allocation, Social Constraints and Demographic in Developed Countries”
    • 2003 - Wendolyn Aubrey Weber, Comparative Literature
      “Hild Under the Helm and the Witch in the Rose Garden: The Rise and Fall of the Heroic Woman in Medieval Germanic Literature”
    • 2002 - Faye Sandra Halpern, English
      “The Sentimental Orator: Persuasion in Nineteenth-Century America”
    • 2001 - Adriana Zavala, History of Art & Architecture
      “Constituting the Indian/Female Body in Mexican Painting, Cinema and Visual Culture, 1900-1950”
    • 2000 - Kirsten Marthe Lentz, American Civilization
      “Television as Bad Object: Feminism, Race and the Politics of the Sign in 1970s Television and Film”
    • 1999 - Lois Cucullu, English
      "The Female Intellectual and the Modernist Clerisy”
    • 1998 - Jennifer Luise Fleissner
      "The Ascent of Women: Feminism, the Future and American Naturalism"