Laureanne Willems is the winner of the Best Master’s Thesis Award 2019.
The research clearly illustrates the role these personal histories can play in the medicalised discourse on anorexia, in turn facilitating efforts to understand and define the disease. What's more, the study compels the reader to deeper and interdisciplinary reflection on what is normal and healthy.
Among the 34 theses that were submitted for the Student Award for Best Master's Thesis this year, Laureanne Willems’ thesis immediately drew the jury's attention. In the laudation, the jury indicates that the research is remarkable and original. Wil-lems, former student of Comparative Literary Studies, analysed how the lived experience of anorexia nervosa is illustrated in different autobiographical illness narratives.
The jury praises the smooth, well-considered and the compelling writing style. The handling of not only literary sources, but the theoretical and conceptual secondary literature as well, is quite deftly done. The thesis has proven to be extremely easy to follow and comprehend even for academics outside the Humanities sphere, without making any concessions to the depth of the work.
The jury also thinks that Willems’ personal engagement with the topic is exception-al: the personal notes reveal a human vulnerability that touches the reader, yet at the same time, the appropriate academic remove is never endangered.
What is Normal, What is Healthy? A Comparative Study of Anorexia Nervosa Through the Lens of Autobi-ographical Illness Narratives.
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