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  • The Rutledge Prize 2017For Graduate Students Giving Papers at the SCLA Conference

Each year the SCLA offers a prize of $500 for the most promising work presented at its annual conference by a graduate student. The essay is also considered for publication in The Comparatist.

You may submit a paper for consideration for this award by sending it as an email attachment to the SCLA vice president. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2019 with the prizewinner to be announced in the 2017 issue of The Comparatist. Send to: Prof. Brian O'Keeffe,

Since conference papers are often shortened from longer projects, students are encouraged to submit an essay-length version of their work that would be suitable for journal publication (no longer than 7,500 words). If publishable, prize essays normally appear in the next issue after the official announcement (i.e., a year and a half after the conference presentation), thus allowing ample time for feedback and advice from the editor.

rutledge prize winner 2017

Beth Miller, University of North Carolina, Greensboro "That We Might Re-know Ourselves: literate Resistance in Nadeem Aslam's The Golden Legend"

judges' citation

"'Literate resistance' is the topic of Beth Miller's prize-winning essay. What is needed for such activity (or activism) are literary texts that enhance the reader's perception that reading is a collaborative exercise. As Miller shows, Nadeem Aslam's The Golden Legend is one such text. His novel is situated in a fictional city in present-day Pakistan where pain and violence is almost omnipresent. There are spies, drones, gunshots, and expressions of vicious religiosity. But his novel is also alive with expressive beauties, and it harbors a keen hope, moreover, for a more tolerant world. An 'increasingly globalized world,' as the cliché has it, but as Miller's sensitive account of The Golden Legend shows, Aslam goes beyond the [End Page 416] cliché to realize a densely meshed world of interconnection—personal narratives interlock even as they fragment and contest each other. Miller enters herself confidently and subtly into the weft of this world, offering a demonstration of what it is to participate in the stitching and gluing together of those precariously shared, and complexly differentiated narratives, experiences, and identities. (Nargis, the central character, becomes engaged in the task of repairing a ripped-up book with golden thread—a task that Aslam's readers are also asked to participate in, perhaps.) If Miller's reading becomes 'a form of activism through mental resistance,' as she puts it, it is because she joins with Aslam's characters as they try to locate hitherto undiscovered, or overlooked interstices within the 'grid' of power, violence, and hegemonic narratives, be they religious or political. So doing, as Miller excellently shows, the reader shares the spaces discovered by the protagonists of The Golden Legend—places where resistance is possible. Literate resistance perhaps amounts to this: a discreet, but persistent exercise in trying to imagine alternatives to the status quo, an exercise that allies readers and writers in a joint attempt to re-think nothing less than the world."

Harry C. Rutledge, Emeritus Professor of Classics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an internationally recognized classicist, was the guiding spirit behind the founding of the SCLA March 28–30, 1974. He served as President, Board Member, and Conference Coordinator, but is best remembered for his enthusiasm in encouraging comparative work of all kinds. He also helped inspire the founding of The Comparatist. [End Page 471]



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