Mid-19th, 20th, and 21st century African American literature and cultural history; contemporary African American poetry and poetics; Nonfiction Studies; Popular Romance Studies; Critical Love Studies; Quare Studies; Performance Studies; critical race theory; queer of color critique; black masculinities; substance and alcohol use disorders; HIV/AIDS narratives and culture
Darius Stewart is a Lulu “Merle” Johnson Fellow and Ph.D. student in English with a Graduate Certificate in African American Studies. His research interests combine the emerging fields of Popular Romance Studies, Critical Love Studies, and Performance Studies to interrogate black masculinities within black gay culture, particularly as they are represented in the black gay romance novel, romantic film and television, and mainstream music. He is also interested in questions of audience as it pertains to the black gay romance specifically (i.e., why E. Lynn Harris’s novels were especially popular among straight black women), and of authorship where it concerns gay (or M/M) romance novels in general (i.e., why a large percentage of published (white) gay romance novels are written by straight white women).
Before coming to Iowa, Darius received an honors BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee—Knoxville and an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a James A. Michener Fellow in poetry. In 2017, he enrolled in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, where he graduated in 2020 with an MFA in English (nonfiction writing). As a graduate instructor, he taught nonfiction courses and masterclasses for the NWP and also for the General Education Literature Program, where he served as a Program Associate during the 2018-2019 academic year and was awarded the John C. Gerber Teaching Award. Other honors include the Magdalena Essay Prize, Graduate Diversity Fellowship, Englert Nonfiction Fellowship, and the Provost Postgraduate Fellowship in Nonfiction, for which he was also the Visiting Assistant Professor and Writer in Nonfiction for 2020-2021.
Darius is awaiting the publication of his first full-length collection of poems and lives in Iowa City with his dog, Fry.