Eric Darnell Pritchard

Eric Darnell Pritchard.

Eric Darnell Pritchard

Eric Darnell Pritchard


Literacy; rhetoric; composition; fashion; popular culture; Black feminism; African American Studies; Queer Studies; performance; qualitative research methods.

Contact Information

509 Clemens Hall

Phone: 716-645-0700

Eric Darnell Pritchard (they/them) is an award-winning writer, cultural critic, and Associate Professor of English at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). They are also on the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. They earned their BA in English-Liberal Arts (magna cum laude) from Lincoln University, the nation’s oldest historically Black college and university (HBCU). They also earned an MA in Afro-American Studies and a PhD in English (with distinction) from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Eric’s research and teaching focuses on the intersections of race, queerness, sexuality, gender and class with historical and contemporary literacy, literary, and rhetorical practices, as well as fashion, beauty, and popular culture.

Their first book, Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy (Southern Illinois University Press, November 2016), won three book awards: the inaugural 2017 Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on Community Writing, and the 2018 Advancement of Knowledge Award and the 2018 Lavender Rhetorics Book Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship, both from the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Fashioning Lives was also recognized as honorable mention for the 2018 Winifred Bryan Horner Outstanding Book Award from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric.

They are also editor of "Sartorial Politics, Intersectionality, and Queer Worldmaking," a special issue of QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking (Vol. 4, Issue 3, Michigan State University Press, 2017).

In addition to their book and edited volume, their scholarly writings have also appeared in numerous venues including Harvard Educational ReviewThe International Journal of Fashion StudiesLiteracy in Composition StudiesVisual Anthropology, and Southern Communication Journal. As a public scholar and cultural critic, their articles and reviews have also been published in Public BooksART FORUM InternationalEbony.comThe Funambulist (Clothing Politics Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Their research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, among other institutions.

An engaging and energetic public speaker, they have delivered keynote lectures and served as a discussant on plenary sessions at numerous institutions and festivals including the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Flyover Fashion Fest, and as the 2018 Walker Gibson Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Eric has also been a featured guest on radio programs and podcasts including Dressed: The History of Fashion, This Rhetorical Life, In The Telling: A Black Family Podcast, The Marc Steiner ShowCollections by Michelle Brown, and the Top Rank Magazine Podcast.

Currently, Eric is at work on two new books projects. One project is a historical study of community literacies and queer of color feminist activist organizations and collectives. Another project is a biography of 1980s fashion superstar Patrick Kelly.

As a self-described “community-accountable intellectual,” to borrow a phrase from Black feminist alchemist Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Eric’s work and service within the communities they love and are sustained by has also been honored. Most recently, they received the 2018 Esteem Award for National Service to the LGBTQ Community at the 11th Annual Esteem Awards in Chicago, Illinois. They were also previously honored with the A. Philip Randolph “Man of Vision” Award from the Wisconsin Black Student Union.

You can learn more about Professor Pritchard’s work at their website:

Select Awards/Prizes 

  • 2018 Lavender Rhetorics Book Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship, Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2018 (for Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy)
  • 2018 Advancement of Knowledge Book Award, Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2018 (for Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy)
  • Outstanding Book Award, Conference on Community Writing, 2017 (for Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy)
  • Honorable Mention, 2018 Winifred Bryan Horner Outstanding Book Award, Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric (for Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy)
  • 2018 Esteem Award for National Service to the LGBTQ Community, 11th Annual Esteem Awards, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2018 Campus Distinguished Promotion Award (1 of 11 Promotion Cases Awarded among Associate and Full Professors), Office of the Provost, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Inaugural "40 Under 40," The Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, 2015
  • Lavender Rhetorics Article Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship, Conference on College Composition and Communication [article in Harvard Educational Review], 2014


  • James Weldon Johnson Visiting Scholar Fellowship, James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Emory University, 2012-2013
  • Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and National Endowment for the Humanities, 2009-2010

Select Publications


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

[Reviews of Fashioning Lives: College English; Community Literacy Journal; QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking; Reflections: A Journal for Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service-Learning].

Edited Volumes

  • Guest Editor. "Sartorial Politics, Intersectionality, and Queer Worldmaking." Special issue of QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking 4.3, Michigan State University Press, 2017.

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

  • "Grace Jones, Afro Punk, and Other Fierce Provocations: An Introduction to "Sartorial Politics, Intersectionality, and Queer Worldmaking." QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking (Special Issue) 4.3 (2017): 1-11. 
  • "Black Girls Queer (Re) Dress: Fashion as Literacy Performance in Pariah." QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking (Special Issue) 4.3 (2017): 127-155.
  • "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.  


  • "Overalls: On Identity and Aspiration from Patrick Kelly's Fashion to Hip Hop." The Funambulist. Ed. Leopold Lambert. 2018. 32-37. 
  • "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.


  • “Eric Darnell Pritchard on Black Queer Literacies and Activism.” Interviewed by Don Unger and Liz Lane for Writing Networks for Social Change: A Zine Connecting Activists in Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacy Studies. Eds. Don Unger and Liz Lane. September 2017: 44-51. [Reprinted in Constellations Journal]
  • “Fashioning Lives: A New Book on Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy.” Interviewed by Ibram X. Kendi for Black Perspectives: A Publication of the African American Intellectual History Society. January 6, 2017.