2014 Lawrence Prize Winners and Citations


Benjamin Gillespie, “Virtuosic Labouring: Queer Embodiment and Administrative Violence at the Canadian/U.S. Border.”

Focusing on the 2012 incident in which Canadian performance artist, Nina Arsenault, was stopped at U.S. Customs enroute to a university-sponsored engagement in New York, Gillespie uses a multidisciplinary theoretical framework to explore Arsenault’s border-crossing as an example of her queer body serving as a vector for exposing capital investment in gendered identity and labour production. The committee felt that this was a brilliantly-written paper that elegantly balanced theory and practical examples in a way that guided readers and listeners alike clearly and convincingly through its major points. Its effect was further enhanced by a lucid presentation that used a few carefully chosen slides to build towards a significant conclusion that seamlessly integrated Queer theory and theatre and performance criticism with social, economic and political critique.

Honourable Mentions

Brian Batchelor, “Zapatouristic Differentiations: Reading Autoethnographic Representations and Touristic Identities through the Camera Lens in Oventic.”

The committee felt that Batchelor’s eloquent meditation on the interface between tourism, and social/political activism as embodied and performed in a series of photographs and murals in Oventic, Mexico, was reinforced by a “highly organized and very compelling” presentation. As written and presented, the paper memorably applied a breadth of cultural research and performance study theory, with a depth of autoethnographic analysis to a striking, enigmatic series of images that disturbingly questioned the truth in the eye of the beholder.

Ian McWilliams, “‘Very Realistic, and Was Received with Intense Silence by the Audience’: Founding Spectres and Recasting The Last Stand.”

The Committee considered this “an outstanding paper in its theoretical frame dealing with the gothic aspects of having First Nations boys reenacting colonial history” in 1902 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. As carefully and thoughtfully written, and entertainingly delivered, this paper drew on a solid research basis of period newspapers, paintings, photographs, archival records and postcolonial criticism to perceptively mine the increasingly murky depths of an odd kind of historical “ghost story” with haunting reverberations for the present.