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The Esther M. Terry Award

Distinguished Dissertations in Afro-American Studies

Dissertation committees may unanimously award students with a distinction for their doctoral work. All dissertations earning a distinction during the defense are automatically nominated for the annual Esther M. Terry Award for the most outstanding dissertation.


Carlyn Ena Ferrari, Ph.D. 2018
"Do Not Separate Her from Her Garden: Anne Spencer's Ecopoetics"
Chair: James Smethurst


Crystal Lynn Webster, Ph.D. 2017
"Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: Northern African American Children's Cultural and Political Resistance, 1780-1861"
Chair: Manisha Sinha


Markeysha Davis, Ph.D. 2016
"Daring propaganda for the beauty of the Human Mind:” Critical Consciousness—Raising in Poetry and Drama of the Black Power Era, 1965-1976"
Chair: James Smethurst


Karla V. Zelaya, Ph.D. 2015
"'Sweat the Technique'": Visible-izing Praxis Through Mimicry in Phillis Wheatley's "On Being Brought from Africa to America"
Chair: Steven Tracy


Donald Geesling, Ph.D. 2014
"'Survival Kits on Wax': The Politics, Poetics, and Productions of Gil Scott-Heron"
Chair: Ernest Allen


James Carroll, Ph.D. 2013
"Composing the African Atlantic: Sun Ra, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and the Poetics of African Diasporic Composition"
Chair: Steven Tracy


Ernest Gibson, Ph.D. 2012
"In Search of the Fraternal: Salvific Manhood and Male Intimacy in the Fiction of James Baldwin"
Chair: James Smethurst


Kabria Baumgartner, Ph.D. 2011
"Intellect, Liberty, Life: Women's Activism and the Politics of Black Education in Antebellum America"
Chair: Manisha Sinha


Jonathan Fenderson, Ph.D. 2011
"'Journey Toward a Black Aesthetic': Hoyt Fuller, the Black Arts Movement and the Black Intellectual Community"
Chair: James Smethurst


Christopher Tinson, Ph.D. 2010
"The Fight for Freedom Must Be Fought on all Fronts: Liberator Magazine and Black Radicalism, 1960-1971"
Chair: Ernest Allen