Julien Mezey Dissertation Award

Annual prize awarded to the dissertation that most promises to enrich and advance interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of law, culture and the humanities.

Submit for this Award

Nominations for the 2022 award must be received on or before February 28th, 2022.

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities invites submissions for the Julien Mezey Dissertation Award. This annual prize is awarded to the dissertation that most promises to enrich and advance interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of law, culture and the humanities.

The Association seeks the submission of outstanding work from a wide variety of perspectives, including but not limited to law and cultural studies, law and critical race studies, law and gender and sexuality, legal theory and environmentalism, law and literature, law and psychoanalysis, law and visual studies, legal history, legal theory and jurisprudence. Scholars completing humanities-oriented dissertations in SJD and related programs, as well as those earning PhDs, are encouraged to submit their work. Applicants eligible for the 2022 award must have defended their dissertations successfully between June 2020 and January 15th,  2022. 

Submission Instructions

Nominations for the 2022 award must be received on or before February 28th, 2022.

Each nominee must submit the following:

  1. a letter by the nominee detailing the genesis, goal, and contribution of the dissertation;
  2. a letter of support from a faculty member familiar with the work;
  3. an abstract, outline, and selected chapter of the dissertation;
  4. contact information for the nominee.

Please forward all these materials by February 28th, 2022 to the chair of the Mezey Award Committee, Professor Keally McBride at kdmcbride@usfca.edu.

Featured Winner(s)

  • 2020

    ELIZABETH RULE (co-winner)

    “Reproducing Resistance: Gendered Violence and Indigenous Nationhood​”

    Ph.D, American Studies, Brown University

    This work brings together Native American studies by indigenous people in combination with critical legal theory in a subtle and nuanced fashion. This project takes the insights of film theory very seriously, yielding a compelling account of the gendered violence at the border.

    EMILY PRIFOGLE (co-winner)

    “Cows, Cars, and Criminals: The Legal Landscape of the Rural Midwest, 1920- 1975​”

    Ph.D, History, Princeton University

    This project employs a creative use of history, space and law in its unique methodological approach. Prifogle also combines personal narrative in combination with this structural analysis in a highly inventive fashion. The projects knits together individual, collective, and legal strands into its analysis in a sophisticated manner.

Show Full List

  • 2017

    Kojo Koram

    “The Sacrificial International: The War Drugs and Imperial Violence of Law”

    PhD, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London
    Lecturer in Law at the School of Law and member of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

  • 2016

    BAŞAK ERTÜR (co-winner)

    “Spectacles and Spectres: Political Trials, Performativity and Scenes of Sovereignty”

    Ph.D., Birkbeck School of Law, University of London
    Lecturer, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London

    ANNA LVOVSKY (co-winner)

    “Queer Expertise: Urban Policing and the Construction of Public Knowledge about Homosexuality, 1920-1970”

    Ph.D., History of American Civilization, Harvard University
    Academic Fellow, Columbia Law School 

  • 2015

    Audrey Golden (co-winner)

    “Restorative Justice and the Global Imagination” 

    Ph.D, English, University of Virginia

    Sarah higinbotham (co-winner)

    “The Violence of the Law: Aesthetics of Justice in Early Modern England” 

    Ph.D, English, Georgia State University

  • 2014

    Stacy Douglas

    “Curating community: Museums, Constitutionalism, and the Taming of the Political” 

    Ph.D. Law, Kent Law School, University of Kent
    Assistant Professor, Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University

  • 2013

    Hester Betlem

    “Law, Life, and the Goddess in Rural South India” 

    Ph.D., Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
    Lecturer, History and Liberal Studies, Western Washington University

    Joseph Fischer

    “Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent”

    Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Pembroke Center, Brown University

  • 2012

    JOSEPH FISCHEL

    “Sex and Harm in the Age of Consent”

    Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Pembroke Center, Brown University

  • 2011

    ZEB TORTORICI

    “Contra Natura: Sin, Crime, and ‘Unnatural’ Sexuality in Colonial Mexico, 1530-1821”

    Ph.D., History, UCLA
    Visiting Professor, History, Tulane University

  • 2010

    REBECCA RIX

    “Gender and Reconstitution: The Family and Individual Basis of Democracy Contested, 1870-1932”

    Ph.D., History, Yale University
    Assistant Professor, History, Princeton University

  • 2009

    CHRISTINE HONG

    “Legal Fictions: Human Rights Cultural Production and the Pax Americana in the Pacific Rim”

    Ph.D., English, University of California – Berkeley
    Assistant Professor, Literature, University of California – Santa Cruz

  • 2008

    BRENNA BHANDAR

    “Re-covering the Limits of Recognition: The Politics of Difference and Decolonisation in John Borrows’ Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law”

    Ph.D., Birkbeck School of Law, University of London
    Lecturer, University of Kent Law School

    Honorable Mention

    ORNA ALYAGON DARR

    “The Dilemma of the Serious-but-hard-to-prove Crime of Witchcraft in Early Modern England (1542-1736)” 

    Ph.D., Law, Haifa University
    Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

  • 2007

    GABRIELLA COLEMAN

    “The Social Construction of Freedom in Free and Open Source Software: Hackers, Ethics, and the Liberal Tradition”

    Ph.D., Socio-cultural Anthropology, University of Chicago
    Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

  • 2006

    SAGIT MOR

    “Imagining the Law: The Construction of Disability in the Domains of Rights and Welfare – The Case of Israeli Disability Policy”

    JSD, New York University School Law
    Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa