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Mark and Ruth Luckens International Prize in Jewish Thought and Culture

The Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kentucky invites entries for the annual Mark and Ruth Luckens Essay Competition in Jewish Thought and Culture. The Luckens Prize is awarded to the best unpublished original essay that is also suitable for oral presentation to a general audience and is written by a graduate student or recent Ph.D. (Ph.D from no earlier than 2021) who does not already have a tenure-track academic position. The Luckens Prize carries an award of $500, made possible by a generous gift from the late Dr. Mark Luckens. In addition to the cash award, the author of the winning essay will give a public lecture in connection with University of Kentucky Jewish Studies in Spring 2024.

Entries for the Luckens Prize competition should be original, unpublished essays of 5000-7000 words in length including all notes and citations; essays that exceed this length will not be considered. Essays should also be accompanied by a 100-250 word abstract and updated CV. All submissions must be in English. Entries will be judged by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty affiliated with the UK Jewish Studies program.  

Submissions for the Luckens Prize competition should be sent electronically as Word or PDF documents along with a current curriculum vitae, and a 100-250 word abstract for the essay, to Sheila E. Jelen (, the director of the University of Kentucky Jewish Studies program.

Submissions must be received by 5pm, January 14, 2024 to be considered.