Essay Prize

The Space Between Society offers a prize for the best essay presented at the annual conference.

The winner of the 2017 essay prize is “The Dignity of Years and the Crudities of Youth: Gone With the Wind (1936) and the New Southern City” by Jennie Lightweis-Goff.

The judging committee was taken by the sophisticated analysis of the “spatial ideologies” of Mitchell’s novel and vim and vigor of the writer’s voice. Lightweis-Goff argues that Mitchell uses Atlanta after the war and its relation to coastal cities in order to work through the rise of the New South and changes wrought on the region by modernity in the interwar period. Attentive close-readings of Mitchell’s novel held in tension with the savvy deployment of new/old regional urbanisms contribute to the excitement of the deft analyses. Lightweis-Goff especially notices the (postcolonial) phenomenon of the abjection of one kind of body/city to foster the emergence of the new and modern body/city (Atlanta).  The ideology of “city against city” (much of the analysis is devoted to the resurgence of Atlanta) that Lightweis-Goff finds enables her not only to enter into dialogue with other readers of Mitchell’s novel, but to shed new light on the novel’s role in the construction of “spatial ideologies.”

This year’s prize essay embodies the theme of the 2017 conference advancing the field of “the space between” by bringing in the countermodernism of Mitchell and southern writers, the Agrarians, and the contested regionalisms of the south.

Past prize winners:

2016:  Paula Derdiger, “”Surveying the Space Between in Postwar Berlin: Billy Wilder’s A Foreign Affair.

2015: Joseph Elkanah Rosenberg, “Paper Bombs.”

2014: Michael Williamson, “Doubled Crossings: Yiddish Writers Respond to the Treaty of Non-Aggression Between Germany and Russia.”

2013: Katherine Brucher, “Henry Ford’s ‘Old-fashioned’ Dancing and ‘Early American’ Music: Americanization through Music and Dance.”

2012: Naomi Milthorpe, “Absolute Possession: Evelyn Waugh’s Library.”