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New Faculty Spotlight: Dionte Harris

Headshot photo of Dionte Harris

Dionte Harris joined the department this year as an assistant professor in twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature, film, and cultural studies. His specialties include Black studies, critical theory, queer and trans theory, performance studies, and visual culture. Before coming to Knoxville, he earned his BA from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. As a graduate student, he received a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, a Yale LGBT Studies Research Fellowship, and a University of Pennsylvania Provost’s Predoctoral Fellowship.

Harris’s current project, tentatively titled Boyhood: Black Becoming, Queer Being, and the Question of Life, examines black boyhoods and queer practices in African American literary and cultural productions. A chapter from this project—on Barry Jenkins’ 2016 coming-of-age film Moonlight—appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies.

Harris is also at work on an interdisciplinary project that examines how Black artists mobilize mathematic and scientific knowledge to offer alternative understandings of and relationships to Black and queer life.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate courses in African American literature, Harris will also teach Race and Ethnicity in American Cinema, a recent addition to our undergraduate film offerings.