Walter L. Arnstein Prize for Dissertation Research in Victorian Studies

The Midwest Victorian Studies Association offers the Annual Walter L. Arnstein Prize for Dissertation Research in Victorian Studies, a prize of $1,500 for dissertation research in British Victorian Studies undertaken by a student currently enrolled in a doctoral program in a U.S. or Canadian university. Proposals may be submitted in literature, history, art history, or musicology but should have a significant interdisciplinary component that will render them of interest to scholars studying Victorian Britain across a range of disciplines, approaches, and subfields. The 2019 winner is Lindsay Wells of the University of Wisconsin–Madison for "Plant-Based Art: Indoor Gardening and the British Aesthetic Movement, 1860-1914." Honorable mention recipients are Avigail Moss of the University of Southern California for "Actuarial Imaginaries of Art and Empire, 1800-1914," and Kate Nesbit of the University of Iowa for "Listening to Reading Aloud: Literacy and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century England." Click here for a complete list of Arnstein Award winners.

2019 Arnstein winner, Lindsay Wells, accepts
award from incoming President Chris Ferguson
and outgoing President Mary-Catherine Harrison

Applicants for 2020 must submit: 
  • A statement on research (maximum 3 single-space pages, 12-point font). Please provide a brief overview of your dissertation topic, remembering that your proposal will be reviewed by faculty members in several disciplines. Indicate clearly the present state of your work and explain how an award would assist you in completing the dissertation (for example, partial travel support, purchase of library supplies, etc.).
  • A current CV (maximum 2 pages single-spaced, 12-point font)

DEADLINE:  February 1, 2020  |  Submit cover sheet, statement, and CV by e-mail to  (The recipient will be notified by March 1.)

To request more information about the Arnstein Prize, send an e-mail to


William and Mary Burgan Prize
The William and Mary Burgan Prize for the Outstanding Presentation by a Graduate Student at the Midwest Victorian Studies Association conference recognizes a graduate student who exemplifies the qualities of an excellent teacher as well as a capable scholar by giving a presentation that demonstrates "teacherly" qualities. Criteria include an unhurried, well-organized presentation that meets the time limits; good eye contact with the audience; effective use of visual and verbal aids (though visual aids are not a requirement); an obvious passion for the work presented; and grace in handling questions at the end. In short, the winner of the Burgan Prize should demonstrate promise as a teacher as well as a scholar.  The 2019 co-winners are Claire Landes of Texas Christian University for "The (Im)material Feud: Dickens and Elliotson v. Crowe and Martineau," and Aaron Long of the University of Kansas for "Biomimicry and Biopower in Jules Verne's Nautilus." The honorable mention recipient is Heather Asbeck of the University of Missouri–Columbia for "'The Fresh, Unsullied Satin of the Bag': Privacy, Violation, and Coercive Control in Charlotte Brontë's Shirley." Click here for a complete list of Burgan Prize winners.

2019 Burgan honorable mention recipient, Heather Asbeck,
receives congratulations from members of the Executive Board

Endowed by former Executive Secretary Keith Welsh, professor of interdisciplinary studies at Webster University in St. Louis, the William and Mary Burgan Prize encourages young scholar-teachers and acknowledges the contributions of Bill and Mary Burgan to Victorian studies and to this association. The award honors two people who are admirable scholar/teachers in their own right, and who, during their distinguished service at Indiana University, always evidenced sincere care and concern for graduate students. Bill and Mary Burgan have long been mainstays of Victorian studies, and each has done significant interdisciplinary work. But in addition to being fine scholars and teachers, they are wonderful human beings.


To contribute to the fund for the Arnstein or Burgan Prizes, use the linked text to donate online, or visit the Membership section of the website for instructions on sending a check.