Olivia Kerr (she/they) is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program within the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania as a Fontaine Fellow. Olivia completed her B.A. in African & African American Studies with a minor in History at Washington University in St. Louis receiving Latin Honors in the Spring of 2023. She was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and will continue to align herself with the Fellowship as she achieves her Ph.D. Olivia has contributed an archival and oral history-rooted book chapter to Washington University’s Department of African & African American Studies’ Black 1968 book.
Olivia’s research explores the contours of twentieth-century African American women’s lives through archival analysis and oral histories. They have explored Black queer women’s interiorities throughout their time as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow—culminating in a senior honors thesis. Olivia is deeply interested in the early to mid-twentieth-century United States and the tangible and epistemic manifestations of Blackness during the period, especially regarding African American women. Her work is grounded in Black Feminist Epistemology, Black Queer Theory, and a historical methodological approach.