Winners of Inaugural Black Queer Studies Awards Named

graphic for the black queer studies awards ceremony. collage of bqs resources on glittery rainbow background

The University of Texas Libraries recently recognized a group of student scholars for their use of a groundbreaking collection focused on Black Queer Studies.

The Libraries announced the inaugural winners of the Black Queer Studies Student Awards. The Monica K. Roberts Graduate and the Hogan/Schell Undergraduate Awards honor excellence in student scholarship and creative endeavors in the field of Black Queer Studies.

Allen Poterie, a graduate student from the Performance as Public Practice program in the Theater and Dance Department, and Jeremiah Baldwin, an undergraduate senior majoring in Government, Rhetoric and Writing, and African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS), were presented their respective awards in a virtual ceremony on February 12.

Poterie’s winning submission, entitled “And Don’t Let Go: Scenes of Holding as a Means of Emotional Exchange between Black Men,” is a scholarly literature review that contextualizes his creative work-in-progress – a television screenplay about the lives and relationships of Black Queer men. The work cited many books and films in the Libraries’ Black Queer Studies Collection, including literary work by Essex Hemphill, films directed by Marlon Riggs and scholarship by E. Patrick Johnson.

Baldwin submitted  “Caught At An Intersection The Podcast,” which examines Black Queer experiences through interviews and discussions, using Kimberlé Crenshaw’s watershed theory of intersectionality as a framework. In one episode about James Baldwin, the undergraduate senior interviews author Alejandro Heredia, whose book, You’re the Only Friend I Need, is included in the Black Queer Studies Collection.

Two additional submissions received honorable mentions for distinguished work. Alexandria Cunningham, a graduate student in AADS, and Tolu Osunsade, a senior majoring in Public Health and AADS, were recognized for their use of the collection. Cunningham’s submission was a selection from her dissertation “The Black Freak Nasty Magic Project™ :: Choreographies of Play, Pleasure and Sexuality.” Osunsade’s submision was the work “The Harm in Reproductive Healthcare for Black Women and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals in The United States.”

The Monica K. Roberts Graduate Award is a $1,200 prize awarded to a single graduate student, and The Hogan/Schell Award is a $800 prize for work by an undergraduate student. Students  enrolled in any university college/school are eligible, and submissions must be from the past two academic years, regardless of where the work was conducted (including at previous institutions).

Winning submissions must draw upon the body of work in the Libraries’ Black Queer Studies Collection and must include citations and references to books, films, works, or other materials in the collection.

Prize money for the awards draws from the Black Queer Studies Collection Endowment, originally funded through a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign in 2021.