PhD student receives the American Folklore Society Polly Stewart Award

Thursday 8 October 2020

Elena Emma Sottilotta (2018, Italian), a PhD Candidate in the MMLL Faculty, has been selected as this year’s first place prize winner of the Polly Stewart Student Stipend Award by the Women's Section of the American Folklore Society. 

Elena explains, “My comparative research project aims to shed light on nineteenth-century women folklorists who published collections of folktales, fairy tales and other genres of popular narratives in Italy and Ireland. I am very grateful to the Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society for this recognition, which is extremely encouraging for me as a young scholar. In line with feminist research in this field, my PhD project seeks to readdress the disequilibrium between critical studies predominantly focused on male canonical figures and the most recent scholarly endeavours on neglected women collectors. I look forward to contributing to future academic initiatives in this field.”

Pictured:  Elena in front of the house of Sardinian writer Grazia Deledda, on whom her paper for the American Folklore Society virtual annual meeting will focus.  

The committee unanimously agreed that Elena shows great promise in that regard and was particularly excited by her work to recentre women’s voices in Italian and Irish fairy tale scholarship. Among the writers included in her research corpus, Elena is reassessing Grazia Deledda’s role as a folklorist in Sardinia and the Polly Stewart Student Stipend Award will allow her to present her research at the upcoming American Folklore Society virtual annual meeting. 

This award is intended to support young scholars who will devote themselves to women’s and gender studies and who will be committed to the Women’s Section of the American Folklore Society throughout their careers. 

Find out more about studying Modern and Medieval Languages at St Catharine's.