Congratulations to our 2018 – 2019 IRWGS Graduate Fellows Noni Carter (Department of French (Francophone) and Romance Philology) and Daniel Da Silva (Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures). Fellows are selected annually, based on the excellence of their scholarship and their commitment to women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
Noni Carter is a historical and speculative fiction author and fourth year PhD student in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia University. Her research focuses on Francophone (specifically French Caribbean) literature and art on memory, gender, and slavery. Her dissertation project entitled “in pursuit of science’s fictions” turns to 17th and 18th century European Enlightenment experimentation on women of color to re-examine the development of the concept of the “human” in relation to the bourgeoning centrality of reproduction and the unfixed philosophies of race. She argues furthermore that contemporary science fiction (in literature, visual art, and performance) of the anglophone and francophone African diaspora aids us in working through these earlier “fictions” of science.
With Carter’s work on gender and black radical feminist thought, and specifically through her tenure with IRWGS, has led to an understanding that, rather than being a field that singularly speaks to the concerns of women, feminist pedagogy and activism is more holistically a form of critical engagement. It continuously “seeks out fresh and marginal perspectives and constantly shifting the terms of the Academy in relation to our society.” In the spirit of this vision, she is looking forward to mobilizing her skill sets to help maintain this “space of critical, cross-disciplinary, and innovative dialogue, and to bring to the forefront its importance to the University as a whole.”
Carter enjoys playing piano in her free time, traveling to the French Caribbean whenever the opportunity arises, spending long, satisfying hours (and days!) with her family, and reading up on which new black “super” heroine is changing our world for the better.
Daniel da Silva is a 7th year PhD candidate in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. His research examines gender and sexuality through popular music and performance in Portuguese-speaking cultures and communities, attentive to their intersections with black and queer cultures of African diaspora and the unfolding iterations of trans in popular media across the Lusophone world. Silva credits his time in IRWGS for enabling him to “insert, as intervention, Portuguese-language repertoires of popular and queer culture into on-going debates and scholarship on gender and sexuality that often circumvent the Portuguese-speaking world.” His work reveals affinities between trans and queer cultures from Angola, Brazil and Portugal with those of black and queer communities in North America and beyond. “From voguing to drag, hip-hop, fado, kuduro, and funk carioca, the archive I bring together is not limited to the Lusophone world but resonates with the history and contemporary cultural practices of African diaspora and global LGBT discourses.”
As an IRWGS Graduate Fellow, Silva hopes to continue creating a space for encounter between African American studies, Latin American and Lusophone studies, and black and queer performance, history and activism. Silva has published “Unbearable Fadistas: António Variações and Fado as Queer Praxis,” the JLS (Journal of Lusophone Studies, Vol 3, No 1, 2018: 124-147), while a second article, “Titica and Angolan Trans Formations,” on trans subjectivity as it emerges in popular music in Angola, has been submitted to the Transgender Studies Quarterly. Silva had “the privilege of growing up in Newark, NJ, in a Portuguese-speaking enclave of a city with a rich and complex African American and LGBTQ history,” and when he is not queering Luso-Afro-Brazilian studies, he plays as part of the progressive folk band Vovete.