Donnesha A. Blake

Ronald E. McNair Scholar; MA Women’s Studies (2014), University of Maryland; BA Communication (Summa Cum Laude, 2012), Central Michigan University

Photo of Donnesha Blake

Donnesha A. Blake is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Women’s Studies and a Ronald E. McNair fellow. She earned an M.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014, and a B.A. in Communication from Central Michigan University in 2012. Donnesha served on the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) Dean’s Graduate Advisory Board at UMD for two years. She was appointed to the ARHU Dean’s Cabinet where she served as the graduate student representative for two years. She has also held two executive board positions in the Women’s Studies Graduate Student Association. Donnesha is currently working on her dissertation titled, “Black Queer Women’s Fashion Work Shaping a Black Queer Style Movement,” which traces the ways that Black queer-identified women perform “fashion work” or labor in the “queer style” movement in the digital and physical world. She employs methods from digital culture, performance, and visual culture studies to examine how messages about social justice, professionalism, entrepreneurship, and the complexities of gender expression are constructed in the fashion shows, personal style blogs, and modeling contests that Black queer women produce. She also conducts interviews with Black queer women fashion workers to explore the strategies these women use to produce their fashion projects.

Research areas: Black feminist theories; feminist cultural criticism; gender studies; visual culture; fashion theory; queer of color theory, performance studies.

Courses Taught:
Introduction to Black Women’s Studies (Fall 2016, UMD)
Introduction to Women’s Studies: Women, Art, and Culture (Fall 2014-Present, UMD)
Women’s Bodies in Contention (Winter 2016, UMD)
Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies (Fall 2015, Anne Arundel Community College)