Eric Darnell Pritchard

Assistant Professor of English


PhD, English (with distinction), University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. Afro-American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.A. English-Liberal Arts (magna cum laude), The Lincoln University, Pennsylvania


Queer of Color Film (English 325), Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics (English 380), Writing Studies I (English 505), Hip Hop Rhetorics (English 380)

Research Interests

Literacy; composition theory; rhetoric; community-based writing; qualitative research methods; historiography; African-American literature; LGBT literature; black feminism; queer theory; black queer studies; hip hop studies; race and masculinities; fashion and performance.


Writing Studies, African American Studies, Gender/Sexuality Studies, Theory & Criticism, Teacher Training


Eric Darnell Pritchard is an assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to joining the UIUC faculty he was assistant professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Rhetoric at The University of Texas at Austin.

Pritchard’s research focuses on the intersections of race, queerness, sexuality, gender and class with historical and contemporary literacy and rhetorical practices, as well as popular culture. His first book Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy (under contract with Southern Illinois University Press) examines the ways Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people repurpose literacy to survive and flourish in a constellation of life events including identity affirmation, community formation, self-care, and love. The book is based on original in-depth interviews with 60 Black LGBTQ people of various ages living across the United States, synthesizing analysis of the interviews with close readings of Black queer literature (novels, short stories, poems), film, popular music, visual arts, and extensive archival research. He is working on a new project tentatively titled Making Themselves from Scratch: Literacy and Social Change through Black Queer Activist Organizations, 1974-1990  that examines events in recent American history in which black LGBT activists/culture workers used writing, oratory, and visual and performing arts to redefine the texture of United States histories of the civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights movements. He is also in the early stages of research toward a biography of legendary fashion designer Patrick Kelly. 

Pritchard’s article “For Colored Kids Who Committed Suicide, Our Outrage Isn’t Enough: Queer Youth of Color, Bullying, and the Discursive Limits of Identity and Safety” (Harvard Educational Review) was awarded in 2014 the inaugural “Lavender Rhetorics Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship” from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). 

He has received the Visiting Scholar Fellowship from the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University (2012-2013; 2013-2014 [declined]), a Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and National Endowment for the Humanities (2009-2010), the postdoctoral fellowship in African American Literature from Rutgers University [declined]), and research grants from the John L. Warfield Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, the A. Philip Randolph Award for Community Activism from the Wisconsin Black Student Union. 




  • Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy. . Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016.

Publication Photo

Book Contributions

  • "“As Proud of our Gayness, as We Are of Our Blackness”: Race-ing Sexual Rhetorics in the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays ." Sexual Rhetorics: Methods, Identities, Publics . . Ed. Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes. New York: Routledge, 2015. 159-171.
  • Bibbs, Maria L., and Eric D. Pritchard. "Sista’ Outsider: Queer Women of Color and Hip Hop." Homegirls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology. . Ed. Gwendolyn Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham, and Rachel Raimist. Munroe, CA: Parker Publishing, 2007. 19-40.

Journal Articles

  • ""Black Supernovas: Black Gay Designers as Critical Resource for Black Fashion Studies" ." The International Journal of Fashion Studies 4.1 (2017): 107-110.
  • "‘Like signposts on the road’: The Function of Literacy in Constructing Black Queer Ancestors." Literacy in Composition Studies 2.1 (2014): 29-53.
  • "For Colored Kids Who Committed Suicide, Our Outrage Isn’t Enough: Queer Youth of Color, Bullying, and the Discursive Limits of Identity and Safety." Harvard Educational Review 83.2 (2013): 320-345.
  • "Yearning to Be What We Might Have Been: Queering Black Male Feminism." Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International 1.2 (2012): 179-199.
  • "This is Not an Empty-Headed Man in a Dress: Literacy Misused, Reread and Rewritten in Soulopoliz." Southern Communication Journal 74.3 (2009): 278-299.


  • "Sagged Pants: Criminalization and Racialized Adornment." The Funambulist. Ed. Léopold Lambert. 2016.
  • "Fashioning Empire." Public Books. Ed. Sharon Marcus. 2015.
  • "Who Gets to Make a Social Fashion Statement?." ('Ebony Magazine' Online). 2015.


  • ""The Black Sartorial as " Tradition and Provocation ": Review of "Black Dandy" ." Rev. of Black Dandy, A Political Beauty (Film) Visual Anthropology 30 (2017): 166-169.
  • Rev. of "Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion"ARTFORUM International May 2016: 160.

Get in Touch

Search Type