The 2020 Barbara Harlow Prize for Excellence in Graduate Research

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The 2020 Barbara Harlow Prize for Excellence in Graduate Research


This award was instituted in 2017 in honor of our friend and colleague, Barbara Harlow, Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literature, who passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2017.


A pioneer in the field of literature and human rights, both in and outside of the African continent, Barbara Harlow was key to the development of numerous intellectual initiatives throughout her work. From her groundbreaking efforts at the University of Texas with the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Social Justice, the Bridging Disciplines Program, and the annual Ethnic and Third World Literatures publication and associated conference to her tireless determination to elevate the voices of repressed populations in places such as Palestine and South Africa, Barbara Harlow proved herself to be an unbending force to be reckoned with. Yet, despite her fierceness in these arenas, these efforts were always deeply nurturing of those around her and those she sought to better. For example, as a founding member of the Ethnic and Third World Literatures Review of Books, she established an annual opportunity for graduate students to garner some of their first publications while others received a unique opportunity to engage in the editing and publication process. Across the vast span of her career, she undoubtedly facilitated the growth and flourishing of hundreds of graduate students, and potentially, thousands of undergraduate students.


Indeed, Barbara Harlow was a generous contributor to the Annual Africa Conference itself, both fiscally and in the passion of her exertions on our behalf. Her contributions almost certainly continue to this day as almost every action she took had long lasting reverberations. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I announce the creation of The Barbara Harlow Prize for Excellence in Graduate Research.


We encourage all graduate students presenting research at the 2020 Annual Africa Conference at the University of Texas at Austin as well as TOFAC in Nairobi in July to submit their research for consideration for this award and the associated runner up prize. Winners will be recognized at the conference banquet and will also receive a financial reward in addition to a certificate.


Given the nature of Barbara Harlow’s multifaceted accomplishment across her career, we will consider papers that excel across multiple spectrums of research soundness, written argument presentation, writing fluidity, and verbal presentation during the conference itself. Papers written or presented in collaboration with non-graduate student participants will not be considered for the award.


If you wish to be considered, please submit an email noting your interest with your paper and curriculum vitae to by March 20, 2018 at midnight. We look forward to presenting the 2018 award at the Austin conference, and continuing the celebration that is the life and work of Barbara Harlow.



Professors Mia Carter, Neville Hoad, and Brian Doherty, Department of English, the University of Texas at Austin