The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies invites applications for its first annual competition for the New Scholar Essay Prize for Catholic Studies in the Americas. We invite the submission of essays penned by new scholars--Ph.D. or Th.D. awarded no earlier than 2013--and offering cutting edge research about Catholics and Catholicism in North, Central, or South America and/or the Caribbean.

The purpose of the prize is to advance, highlight, and support excellent scholarship pertaining to Catholicism in the Americas.

The prize comes with a $1500 award.

The winning essay will:

  1. Have been published or been fully accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or scholarly collection within twelve months of the application deadline of February 15, 2020 (published or accepted for publication between February 15, 2019-February 15, 2020)
  2. Make a groundbreaking contribution to the study of Catholics and Catholicism in the Americas through a) disciplined and innovative use of sources; b) creative and well-grounded argument advancing scholarly conversations; and/or c) substantive connection to broader humanistic concerns in the study of religion.

Essays that advance the understanding of historically-underrepresented Catholics (with Latinx, Indigenous, African, and/or Asian heritage) will receive special consideration. Scholars from all humanistic disciplines are encouraged to apply, including those rooted in history, art, anthropology, ethics, literature, religious studies, theology, and related subfields.

Applicants should submit materials at this link, including the following elements, by February 15th:

  1. Applicant CV
  2. Abstract - 500 words or less describing the essay.
  3. Essay- An essay of 12,000 words or less, published or accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal or scholarly collection in either English or Spanish. If queued for publication, applicant must provide evidence of acceptance and timetable for publication.
  4. Nomination Support Letter (recommended)- A letter from a colleague or mentor from a relevant disciplinary field speaking to the merits of the essay as a contribution to Catholic Studies in the Americas.

The application period closes February 15th, 2020 at 11:59pm. The winner will be announced in April 2020.

Questions? Please contact us at

Apply now!