The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Cameron Awkward-Rich

Assistant Professor

Cameron received his B.A. in English and Biology from Wesleyan University and, in 2017, his Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University. His research and teaching creatively combine trans/feminist/queer theory, disability studies, black studies, studies of contemporary American literature, poetry, and other forms of experimental writing to explore transgender aesthetics and cultural production; the conflicted histories of trans/feminist/queer thought in the U.S.; and collective affect/feeling—particularly “bad” feelings like loneliness, dissociation, depression, withdrawal, and ambivalence. His essay “Trans, Feminism or Reading Like a Depressed Transsexual” appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and was the 2017 winner of the journal’s prestigious Catharine Stimpson Prize. Currently, he is working on a book project, Refuse, about “maladjustment” in trans literature and theory.

Awkward-Rich’s other essays have appeared in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, American Quarterly, and Science Fiction Studies. Awkward-Rich is also author of two collections of poetry. Dispatch, recently published by Persea Books in December 2019, won the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award and has been featured in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. Set against the contemporary media environment,Dispatch attends to, revises, and thinks adjacent to the news of past and present of anti-black/anti-trans violence in the United States. Awkward-Rich’s debut collection of poetry, Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and was listed on Entropy’s Best Poetry Books & Collections of 2016. He is also a Cave Canem fellow and a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine.

Before coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Awkward-Rich was Postdoctoral Fellow in the Transgender Studies & Humanities Project with the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University.

Research Areas

Trans/feminist/queer theory and methods; disability studies; contemporary American literature; and creative writing


  • >“Before Trans Studies,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 7, no. 3 (forthcoming), with Cassius Adair and Amy Marvin.
  • “‘She of the pants and no voice’: Jack Bee Garland’s Disability Drag,” Transgender Studies Quarterly 7, no. 1 (February 2020): 20-36
  • “Trans, Feminism or Reading Like a Depressed Transsexual,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42, no.4 (Summer 2017): 819-841.
  • “Thinking Black [Trans] Gender,” American Quarterly 71, no. 3 (September 2019): 903-914
  • “The Fiction of Ethnography in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland,” Science Fiction Studies 43, no. 2 (July 2016): 331-350

Courses Recently Taught

  • Reading Transgender
  • Junior Year Writing
  • Thinking with Feeling
  • Introduction to Trans Studies
  • Future of Race/Sex/Sexuality