Zipporah B. Wiseman Prize for Scholarship on Law, Literature, and Justice: Writing Competition

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice at the University of Texas School of Law is proud to administer the Zipporah B. Wiseman Prize for Scholarship on Law, Literature, and Justice. This international and multidisciplinary writing competition is made possible by donations from the friends, family, and colleagues of the late Zipporah Batshaw Wiseman, in honor of her important work at the intersection of law and literature.

For half a century, pioneering feminist Professor Wiseman inspired her students and colleagues with her powerful intellect, fierce advocacy, and profound joy in attempting to create a more just and equal world. Among her many interests, she was keenly attuned to the ways that texts—from legal cases to fiction, poetry, and film—actively construct and define our perspectives on the meaning and value of categories like “justice” and “inequality.” She co-edited an early collection on law and literature with English professor Susan Sage Heinzelman, Representing Women: Law, Literature, and Feminism (Duke UP 1994). Read more about Professor Wiseman’s life and legacy.

View previous winners here.

The submission period for the 2023 Zipporah B. Wiseman Prize is now closed. Please check back in Spring 2024 for details regarding the 2024 Prize.

TOPIC: We welcome papers from any discipline that engage in a comparative analysis of a legal and a literary text (or texts). For these purposes, literary texts include written and other narrative forms, such as film. Papers should use an interdisciplinary lens to explore issues of justice, broadly understood. The papers may work from any of a variety of perspectives: legal and literary, of course, but also philosophical, historical, sociological, political, economic, or cultural.

PRIZE: The winning paper will receive $1,250 and will be published in the Center’s Working Paper Series. A second-place prize might also be awarded, with the paper considered for publication in the Working Paper Series.

ELIGIBILITY: The prize is open to students currently enrolled in graduate or professional programs as well as to those who have graduated from such programs in or after May 2021. Papers must consist of original work, primarily undertaken as a student, that has not been published or undergone professional editing at the time of submission. Authors must have rights to the content and be willing to publish the paper in the Rapoport Center’s Working Paper Series shortly after the winner has been announced. If papers are later published in a journal or other edited collection, they may be replaced in the Working Paper Series with a citation to that publication.

JUDGMENT CRITERIA: An interdisciplinary and international panel of scholars will judge the papers anonymously. Relevant judgment factors include the strength and logic of the thesis, depth of the analysis, originality and importance of intervention, thoroughness and soundness of the research, and quality of writing (clarity and organization).

FORMAT: Papers must be between 8,000 and 15,000 words, including notes, bibliographies, and appendices, and written in English. Text should be double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. Citation style should be disciplinarily appropriate. Via email, please submit, in three separate documents: (1) anonymized paper (without any identifying information), (2) abstract (100 to 250 words), and (3) full contact details (including university, degree, and anticipated/actual graduate date). Include “Zipporah Wiseman Prize 2023” in the subject line of the email. All submissions must be submitted in .doc or .docx format.

DEADLINE: Submissions should be sent via email to with the subject line “[Your Name] + Wiseman Prize Submission 2023”.

QUESTIONS? Please contact Cooper Christiancy