INCS awards two essay prizes and several travel grants each year:
- The Richard Stein Essay Prize
- The Susan Morgan Graduate Student Essay Prize
- The Chris Vanden Bossche Graduate Student Travel Award
The Richard Stein Essay Prize
The INCS Essay Prize, originally established in 2003, was named the Richard Stein Essay Prize in 2017 in honor of Richard Stein, Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon, for his role as a principal founder of INCS and for his long and crucial service to developing and nurturing our organization. In 1985 he recognized something we now take for granted: the need for a collaborative organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the nineteenth century. His books and articles as well as his teaching at Harvard, Berkeley, and Oregon have focused on the connections among Victorian literature, visual culture, and other arts. Some publications include Victoria’s Year: English Literature and Culture, 1837-1838 (Oxford University Press, 1987); The Ritual of Interpretation: The Fine Arts as Literature in Ruskin, Rossetti, and Pater (Harvard University Press, 1975); “Illustrating Bleak House” in Approaches to Teaching Dickens’s Bleak House, ed. John Jordan and Gordon Bigelow (MLA, 2008); “National Portraits,” in Victorian Prism, ed. James Buzard, Joseph Childers & Eileen Gillooly (University of Virginia Press, 2007); “John Ruskin,” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literary History (2006); “Dickens and Illustration,” in The Cambridge Companion to Dickens, ed. John Jordan (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
This $500 prize recognizes excellence in interdisciplinary scholarship on any nineteenth-century topic. Current INCS members are encouraged to nominate the work of another INCS member or submit their own work. The winner will be announced at the annual conference each year. Past winners may be found here.
Please send a copy of the nominated essay (pdf preferred) to the designated board member in charge of the competition. In the case of an essay that appeared only online, a durable link is acceptable in lieu of a pdf. Instructions for the prize for best essay published in 2020 (deadline 30 June 2021) can be found here.
Guidelines and Eligibility Rules for the Competition
- Only current INCS members are eligible for the current competition. Membership is for the calendar year.
- Articles that appeared in print in a journal or collection in the relevant year are eligible. If the date of publication is not in that year, but the article appeared in that year, it is eligible. Essays published in online, peer-reviewed journals are considered to be “in print,” and are thus eligible.
- The essay must make a significant contribution to the field of nineteenth-century studies.
- Current INCS board members are not eligible for this competition.
- Former INCS board members are not eligible until five years have elapsed since their board service.
- Scholars who are not yet INCS members but wish to have their essays considered may join INCS for the year of the essay’s nomination up until approximately a week before judging commences.
The Susan Morgan Graduate Student Essay Prize
The Susan Morgan Graduate Student Essay Prize prize was established in honor of Susan Morgan, Distinguished Professor of English at Miami University, a prolific, interdisciplinary scholar of nineteenth-century literature and culture, and a longstanding member of INCS. Professor Morgan’s scholarship has shaped the interdisciplinary fields of women’s writing, travel writing, and empire studies—fields that are central to the work of many INCS scholars—and she has generously mentored countless graduate students and junior colleagues. Her selected publications include In the Meantime: Character and Perception in Jane Austen’s Fiction (Chicago, 1980); Sisters in Time: Imagining Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Oxford, 1989); Place Matters: Gendered Geography in Victorian Women’s Travel Writings about Southeast Asia (Rutgers, 1996); and Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the King and I Governess (California, 2008). Past prize winners may be found here.
Guidelines and Eligibility Rules
- The Susan Morgan prize is awarded annually, following each annual INCS conference. Papers will be evaluated by a panel of judges appointed by the INCS board.
- Eligible essays are by graduate student members of INCS and must be presented for discussion by the author at the INCS conference. Submissions may not exceed the length of 4,000 words (excluding notes, works cited, and translations). Essays over the word length will not be considered. Citation style should follow one of the usual humanities formats, usually Chicago or MLA.
- Essays are evaluated in their conference form. In other words, no additional revisions, expansions, or corrections are permitted following the submission of papers to the conference committee for posting on the conference site. Papers will be removed from the conference website for judging by the panel of judges following the conference.
- For 2019 and beyond, graduate students must designate the wish to have their papers considered for the prize by checking the appropriate box on the conference paper submission portal.
- Decisions will be announced each year during the fall semester that follows the conference, which is usually staged during the spring semester.
- The award is $500. The winner will also be invited to submit an expanded version of the paper to Nineteenth-Century Contexts, the INCS-affiliated peer-reviewed journal.
- The second-place paper will be awarded the designation “Honorable Mention.”
- Papers submitted after the due date for conference papers cannot be considered for the prize. The due date will be determined each year by the conference organizer.
- No judge will be permitted to assess his or her own work or to assess work submitted by anyone with whom the judge has worked closely.
- INCS reserves the right to award no prize in any given year.
Chris Vanden Bossche Graduate Student Travel Award
The Chris Vanden Bossche Graduate Student Travel Award was established in honor of Chris Vanden Bossche, the long-term and beloved Executive Director of INCS. Professor Vanden Bossche taught for many years at the University of Notre Dame, where he specialized in Victorian fiction and non-fiction prose. In 2014, he published a study of Victorian conceptions of how to produce social change entitled Reform Acts: Chartism, Social Agency, and the Victorian Novel, 1832-1867 (Johns Hopkins University Press). His many essays have dealt with family and class as represented in cookery books and David Copperfield, separate spheres and social reform in Ruskin, the idea of authorship in the copyright debates of 1837-1842, and “coming of age” in Victorian literature and culture. In addition, he has published essays on Tennyson, Scott, and other nineteenth-century subjects. He is also the author of a study of the intersections of political and literary authority, Carlyle and the Search for Authority (Ohio State University Press) and editor of Thomas Carlyle’s Historical Essays and Past and Present.
The Travel Award named after Professor Vanden Bossche provides small grants for graduate students to attend the annual INCS conference. Preference is generally given to students who must travel the farthest. For more information on the Chris Vanden Bossche Graduate Student Travel Award, please contact INCS Treasurer Abigail Mann.
To make a tax-deductible donation in support of any of these prizes, please click the “Donate” button below and indicate the name of the prize in the “Add comments to seller” field. Many thanks!