Undisciplining Queer & Trans Studies: 2024 Doctoral Dissertation Workshop with Linn Tonstad & Juno Richards

Yale LGBT Studies is pleased to announce that the Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship in Lesbian Studies at Yale University is welcoming applications for a biennial dissertation-writing workshop for a cohort of doctoral fellows. The 2024 Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship Workshop will take place April 29May 3, 2024 in New Haven, CT and will focus on interdisciplinary scholarship at the intersection of queer and trans studies. 
Fellows will convene for a three-day intensive workshop at Yale University where they will present and engage with each other’s work.  They will meet with and receive feedback from the workshop’s two faculty mentors, Professors Linn Tonstad and Juno Richards. Following the three-day workshop, fellows will stay in New Haven for an additional two days to write and to take advantage of Yale University libraries and resources. Selected fellows will receive small stipends and travel funding in addition to room and board for the week of the workshop.
2024 Pettit Fellowship Description:
We welcome applicants from the humanities, social sciences, performing and fine arts, and beyond, to share their emerging scholarship on queer and trans studies. We are interested in applicants whose work challenges disciplinary constraints, arriving at at new ways to think across, beyond, or betwixt methodological norms. This framework draws on Christina Sharpe’s call for Black scholars to “become undisciplined,” given the ways that knowledge production and academic legibility so often reinscribe enduring hierarchies of power. How might queer/trans studies attend to this call? What does it mean to undiscipline queer/trans studies in a time when gender and sexuality studies are under attack as disciplines? What forms of collaboration and mentoring does undisciplining queer/trans studies invite? What genres and forms of writing might the undisciplining of queer/trans studies require? How do we think about disciplinarity and writing given the market-driven need to constantly push queer/trans studies towards the new? During the workshop we imagine discussing particular features of fellows’ scholarship as well as thinking through the experiences of being relatively illegible in disciplinary terms. 

Applicants must be enrolled doctoral candidates who have completed coursework, qualifying exams, and submitted their dissertation prospectus (i.e., ABD status). Students studying or located in all geographical regions are welcome. However, funds from the Pettit Fellowship may not be able to cover the total cost of travel for many students coming from international locations. We encourage students from non-US locations to apply for supplementary travel funding from their home institutions. Doctoral students enrolled at Yale University are ineligible to apply for the Fellowship.

Students working on projects concerned with a range of genders, gender identities, sexualities, and sexual practices are invited to apply.  We seek applicants who can engage scholarship outside their specializations and who are interested to consider the broad consequences of different methods and approaches for scholarly work.

The Sarah Pettit Fund was established in 2003 as a permanent endowment to honor and perpetuate the memory of lesbian activist Sarah Pettit, who earned her BA from Yale in 1988. Pettit died in 2003 in the midst of a high-profile career as a writer, editor, and LGBTQ advocate. She was for many years the Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of OUT Magazine, which she co-founded in 1992. In 1999, she was appointed the Senior Editor of Newsweek’s Arts and Entertainment section. She served on the Advisory Board of the New York Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project.

From 2006 to 2014, the Sarah Pettit Fellowship was run as a biennial fellowship providing a year of support to a graduate student, from an institution other than Yale, who was writing a dissertation in LGBT Studies, with lesbian studies as its focus. From 2016 onwards, the format has changed to a biennial dissertation-writing workshop for scholars working on select themes in lesbian studies.


Fellowship applications are due February 16, 2024 and must include:

  • complete application form
  • cover letter that describes your dissertation and particular interest in this fellowship
  • one-page chapter or topic proposal for presentation and discussion at the workshop
  • curriculum vitae
  • letter of support from the dissertation advisor and the name of two additional references

Click here for application and instructions for submission. Questions about the program may be directed to lgbts@yale.edu. We expect notifications to go out by mid-March 2024.