SCMS Queer & Trans Caucus Chris Holmlund Graduate Student Writing Prize

The Board of the SCMS Queer and Trans Caucus is seeking submissions for the 2022 Chris Holmlund Graduate Student Writing Prize. The winning essay will be published in New Review of Film and Television Studies in the Summer 2023 issue.

Criteria for submission:

-Essay must be authored by a graduate student who is a current member of the Queer and Trans Caucus of SCMS

-Essay must be in the fields of queer or trans cinema/media studies

-Essay should be at least 6,500 words in draft form, with potential to meet the journal’s publication requirement of 8,000-10,000 words

-Essay must be submitted to by October 1, 2022

Graduate student members who are a part of the Alex Doty Queer and Trans Caucus Mentorship Program are encouraged to contact their mentors about potential essay submissions.

Using feedback from the prize committee, the winning graduate student will prepare a full article in line with NRFTS’s Instructions for Authors. The prize committee will identify a winner and begin the mentoring process by December 1, 2022, with the final essay due to the journal by March 1, 2023.

The prize committee consists of the editor of New Review of Film and Television Studies, the current senior co-chair of the Queer and Trans Caucus, and the previous senior co-chair of the Queer and Trans Caucus. The prize committee may elect two additional members to address workload and to ensure that a wide spectrum of perspectives are represented, if necessary (either by meeting vote or board decision).


October 1, 2022 – All Submissions Due

December 1, 2022 – Winner Selected

March 1, 2023 – Winner Returns Paper with Any Edits/Changes

See below for a list of previous award-winning essays!

The 2021 SCMS Queer & Trans Caucus Chris Holmlund Graduate Student Writing Prize has been awarded, in a tie, to the following essays:

Joshua Bastian Cole (PhD candidate, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Cornell University), Changing the Reflection: Re-visions on the Trans Mirror Scene” 

Excerpt: “For trans people, felt experience does not always correspond to the image in the visual field. There is, rather, a tacit knowledge of the body, retained even when not reflected, the body under the surface that Prosser and Cáel M. Keegan have described (‘Revisitation: A Trans Phenomenology of the Media Image’ 31–34). Dysphoria is recognized for its dysfunction, its discordance and incongruence between schematic understanding and visual image. As S.J. Langer explains, trans people ‘just know’ even when we cannot rely on the material body when the mirror fails (‘Trans Bodies and the Failure of Mirrors’ 314). This misattunement between the mirror-reflected material body and the schematic muscle memory of the body not visually reflective opens perplexing questions regarding the logic of representation.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Sean M. Donovan (PhD candidate, Film, Television, and Media, University of Michigan), “In the Corporate Rainbow: OutFest and the Politics of Programming Queer Affect

Excerpt: “LGBTQ film festivals are powered by the communicative work of what I’m naming affective media networks, the organization of public feeling made from contrasting nodes of affective transmission. Affective media networks are comprised of individual textual satellites that can be films, advertising, screening arrangements, festival documents, etc., all with the potential to be, in Steven Shaviro’s words, ‘machines for generating affect’, constructing a negotiated meaning within a spectator’s personal experience (3). Individual texts may muster particular affects, but melded together in a network the cumulative meaning is more complex, and a productive space for processing mixed feelings.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Both winning articles appear in our Summer 2022 issue.

2020 winner Tory Jeffay‘s (PhD student in Film & Media, UC Berkeley) article “‘Flat-Out’ Formalism: Strong Island as Trans-of-Color Critique” was published in our Summer 2021 issue.

Excerpt: “This formal emphasis on surface mirrors the film’s rejection of a mode of seeking truth through uncovering hidden, authoritative knowledge. Flatness, as I theorize it, critiques the logic of the trial, in which the only evidence admissible in court pertains directly to the circumstances of the crime. Ford instead incorporates the evidence of history, space, and body, reaggregating a broad range of evidence by leveling it onto the same flat plane of relevance. Opposing the narrative expectations of nonfiction film in which facts are logically strung together to reveal an authoritative truth, Ford fabulates connections so that landscape, family snapshot, and his own body intersect as evidence in his brother’s murder.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

2020 Honorable Mentions:

Joshua Bastian Cole (PhD Candidate, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Cornell University) “Missing Things: The Eerie Allure of Hidden Trans Masculinity in John Carpenter and Rhys Ernst Films”

Erin Nunoda (PhD Candidate, Cinema Studies Institute) “On Ephemerality: Tiger Beat and Teenage Time”

2018 winner Cameron Clark’s (Ph.D. Candidate, Departments of English and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice, Vanderbilt University) article, “Grief, Ecocritical Negativity, and the Queer Anti-Pastoral,” was published in our Summer 2019 issue.

Excerpt: “For queer film scholars, these [queer anti-pastoral] frameworks often prioritize generative world-building endeavors, especially in regard to romance, sensual discovery, communal recovery, or ecological awareness. Queer anti-pastorals such as my three case studies, however, present more nonegalitarian, inhospitable, and discomforting representations of queerness within the natural world that often struggle to achieve interpersonal or ecological connections. This representative practice may seem to counter critical discourses for queer ecocinema and world cinema. Yet, my argument is that these queer anti-pastorals reconfigure these discourses by bringing more attention to injurious world-shattering occurrences and their subsequent restructurings. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.