Graduate Student Research Fellows

Fall 2021 Dresher Center Graduate Student Research Fellow

A photo of a woman with braids smiling at the camera.

Alyse Minter
Ph.D. Candidate, Language, Literacy, and Culture Program

Project: “Black Women and Unmet Fertility Desires”

In her project, “Black Women and Unmet Fertility Desires,” Alyse Minter will use Black feminist and illness narrative lenses to explore how women understand their health experiences and how they make meaning of those experiences, to include self-talk and language around infertility and loss. Illness narratives allow Black women, who often have a harder time being seen and heard in medical environments, to write themselves back into the broader narrative of sickness and to assert their truths about what happens with and to their bodies. Illness narrative also illuminates social contexts that may be missed in medical documentation. For Black women, narrative allows for reclamation of their bodies and assertion of their own stories in spaces where they would otherwise go unheard. Strategic use of rhetoric, such as rejecting “infertile” in favor of more hopeful language, allows Black women to shape and reinforce their own sense of self-definition.

Foster Reynolds-Santiago
M.F.A. Candidate, Intermedia + Digital Arts Program

Project: “Transgender Euphoria: Puerto Rico’s Queer Exaltation”

“Transgender Euphoria: Puerto Rico’s Queer Exaltation” explores Transgender and Latinx experience by examining the spiritual relationship between physical materials indigenous to Puerto Rico and its transgender population-proposing that the island of Puerto Rico can be visualized as a place where being transgender is an exalted state of existence. Building on Chicanx Futurism and Queer Ecologies, Reynolds argues that an island riddled with generations of hateful queer rhetoric can be re-imagined to prioritize Transgender narratives. Ultimately, “Transgender Euphoria” subverts the common thread of queer suffering by asking transgender Puerto Ricans how they see their euphoria reflected in the Island, and translates their narratives into an intermedia installation that represents Puerto Rico as a place of queer exaltation.

For a list of previous Graduate Student Research Fellows, please visit the Archives page.