The Clayman Institute announced the winners of this year’s Marilyn Yalom Prize and the Marjorie Lozoff Prize in May. The Yalom Prize awards $1,500 to support research or conference costs for students in the humanities conducting research concerning women and gender. The prize is named for former Clayman Institute Director and current Senior Scholar Marilyn Yalom, an internationally renowned author on literature and women’s history. The Lozoff Prize of $2,000 honors Marjorie Morse Lozoff and is given to a graduate student conducting research on issues related to Lozoff’s interests of furthering women's development for the benefit of women, men, children, and society.
Professor Michele Elam, director of Stanford’s Graduate Program in Modern Thought and Literature and former Clayman Institute faculty research fellow, described her nominee for the Yalom Prize, Luz M. Jiménez Ruvalcaba, as “one of our most exceptional students working on contemporary women’s issues through a feminist of color critical lens and humanist inquiry.” Jiménez Ruvalcaba (above left), a sixth-year PhD student in modern thought and literature, who also has completed a PhD minor in feminist, gender and sexuality studies, has been awarded the 2019 Yalom Prize for her dissertation research titled “Honest about Yesterday: Intimate Violence in 20th Century and Contemporary Latinx Literature.”
Jiménez Ruvalcaba’s dissertation, as described by Elam, “studies the ways in which domestic violence is represented—how it originates, develops and is manifested—in 20th and 21st century Latinx literature,” with the ultimate goal “of hop[ing] to offer literature as a touch stone that might help us further understand ourselves as members of a society founded upon the inherent violences of racial and gendered hierarchies.”
"By virtue of its marginal position within the study of American literature, 20th Century and Contemporary Latinx literature is uniquely positioned to point us toward the preconditions that contribute to the presence of intimate violence,” Jiménez Ruvalcaba says. Her research “investigates the historical, cultural, and economic preconditions that foster intimate violence,” as she analyzes the “introductions” to domestic violence of boys against their mothers, which serves as “a starting point for normative violent masculinity.” Her research also probes the violence mothers “practice against their daughters, especially as a protective measure in response to American invasion and militarization.” Her work, she says, is “driven by the concern that intimate violence might actually be inevitable for girls growing up in third world poverty.” Yet, she concludes her research “by noting the ways in which love, while compromised by intimate violence, is never absent.”
The Yalom Prize award money will fund travel to three conferences for Jiménez Ruvalcaba in her field of study, including the Modern Language Association Annual Convention, the National Women’s Studies Association, and the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. Jiménez Ruvalcaba explains in her own words that her “literature teaches us to be careful observers of our social world. This, in turn, makes clear the gravity of statistics and enhances a reader’s capacity to identify domestic violence (in its myriad expressions) as an issue worthy of concern and attention.”
For the Lozoff Prize, Professor Rebecca Bernert, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a 2018-19 Clayman Institute faculty research fellow, nominated Shadab Hussain for her work “on a project focused on better understanding faculty diversity, particularly by gender, in schools of medicine in the United States and how current institutional and federal policies impact retention of women faculty in the academic pipeline.” Hussain (above right) is a sixth-year doctoral candidate graduating in Summer 2019 with a degree in developmental and psychological sciences in the Graduate School of Education, with a PhD minor in psychology. Her research focuses on “the positive social/emotional and academic development of adolescents and undergraduate students – with a particular focus on those students who have a bicultural heritage,” which Bernert acknowledged brought Hussain to work with her on their project.
Bernert emphasized how Hussain “has used her research background to develop pointed survey questions, organize a digital collaborative space for project materials for research team members to contribute to, and is helping to pursue this research for publication.”
Hussain explains that “this study will help identify how universities can increase awareness of policies for faculty, and encourage the use of these policies by women faculty by removing common barriers to utilization.” Ultimately, their goal is for the study results to “contribute to efforts to increase the diversity of women faculty within schools of medicine and structure family-friendly policies to positively support faculty who are raising families.”
The Lozoff Prize was awarded at a Stanford Faculty Club lunch hosted by the Lozoff family and attended by Hussain and Bernert.
The Clayman Institute commends Jiménez Ruvalcaba for her thoughtful and insightful perspective on domestic violence in LatinX literature and Hussain for her dedication and interest in promoting cultural and gender diversity in academia.