Belinda Deneen Wallace, Associate Professor of British and Irish Literary Studies, is the winner of the 2022 Prize for Best Article from the Canadian Committee on the History of Sexuality for her article, “Our Lives: Scribal Activism, Intimacy, and Black Lesbian Visibility in 1980s Canada,” which appeared in the Journal of Canadian Studies 54, 2-3 (Spring 2020): 334-359. Wallace’s article was part of a special issue on “Queer Canada” from the Journal of Canadian Studies.
The selection committee had this to say about Wallace’s article: “Dr. Belinda Wallace offers a stimulating and generative journey into Black lesbian-feminist mobilization during the 1980s by focusing on Toronto’s first Black women’s newspaper, Our Lives, founded in 1986 by the Black Women’s Collective. Using the term “scribal activism” as a vehicle to describe the “strategic use of the written word, including symbols, to fervently advocate for social change,” Wallace charts how Our Lives played an integral role in establishing a “new politic” in response to the invisibility and marginalization Black lesbians experienced in the context of the feminist movement. Wallace re-narrates the script of the feminist movement by using “queertimacy” as analytical tool. A term coined by Wallace, queertimacy nurtured kinship networks and propagated a fertile space for Black lesbian feminists to explore Blackness, queerness, and “femaleness” through knowledge creation. Wallace presents compelling archival examples of this knowledge creation as liberatory practice gleaned from the pages of Our Lives, including artwork, reviews of plays, and essays on the Black lesbian experience, such as Donna Barker’s 1987 essay, “Women Loving Women.” With this rich archive, Wallace sheds much-needed light on the significant contributions of Black lesbian creativity, visibility, and community.”