American Culture Studies Ph.D. Dissertations


Black Queer TV: Reparative Viewing and the Sociopolitical Questions of Our Now

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Culture Studies

First Advisor

Bill Albertini (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Vibha Bhalla (Other)

Third Advisor

Susana Peña (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Clayton Rosati (Committee Member)


This dissertation is rooted in the general question: How do contemporary TV series featuring Black queer and trans representation highlight and address sociopolitical questions often found circulating within queer and cultural studies? Employing three programs, The Prancing Elites Project (2015), Empire (2015), and Pose (2018), this study argues that recent upticks in Black queer characters on TV provide room to move beyond traditional analyses often predicated on critical suspicion to instead engender readings revealing themes related to Black futurity, worldmaking, and coalition building, prominent topics within the fields of queer and cultural studies. Building from both Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s articulation of reparative reading and prior scholarship often critical of Black queer televisual representation, this dissertation’s interventions are both theoretical and methodological, presenting a recalibrated approach to gleaning the richness in Black queer media. Black Queer TV: Reparative Viewing and the Sociopolitical Questions of Our Now invigorates and broadens critical scholarship on media through nuancing programs depicting a range of Black queer people’s represented experiences.