image description: Preston is pictured in foreground smiling in blue plaid Ralph Lauren shirt with magen David necklace. A table and chairs, plants, and stairwell are in blurred background.

I’m Preston Taylor Stone, an Indigiqueer ᏣᎳᎩᏱ ᏕᏣᏓᏂᎸᎩ writer-performer from South Carolina. I’m of mixed-blood Cherokee descent (EBCI). Since 2018, I have been a professional writing tutor and instructor in Miami, FL.

Currently an English PhD candidate at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, my research is at the intersection of transnational American Literary and Cultural Studies, Black and Ethnic Studies, and Queer Theory. The dissertation project is preliminarily titled The Ghosted Protest: Spectrality & the Speculative in Contemporary American Cultures of Protest. Research for this project is graciously funded by the Dissertation Fellowship Award from the University of Miami Center for the Humanities (2022-2023).

In The Ghosted Protest, I demonstrate how contemporary American cultural texts deploy the ghost, a figure often associated with the horror genre, to trouble both the ‘ghosting’ of marginalized stories and the problematic optimism of progress narratives. The works I examine are all part of what I call the ‘literary protest’ genre. Rather than staging a metaphorical protest, I argue these texts perform literal protests distinct from more ‘traditional’ protests like sit-ins or marches. Reframing major texts in Queer Studies, my close readings of each text suggest that literary protests, like ghosts, are spectral: as imagined or speculative confrontations with power, they are neither ‘embodied,’ in the flesh, nor dis-embodied, or invisible. I also contend the literary protest is inherently queer; it has an indefinite form and temporality, displacing more ‘normative’ forms of protest that may only be accessible to the able-bodied, white cis-hetero settler’s body. Thus, my project extends the recent work in ethnic studies defined by intersecting Black & Indigenous struggles against regimes of power. Examining the work of poet and essayist The Cyborg Jillian Weise, Native American authors Louise Erdrich & Tommy Orange, filmmaker Nia DaCosta, queer Black writer Roxane Gay, Guatemalan filmmaker Jayro Bustamante, and 2-Spirit poet and scholar Qwo-Li Driskill, I show that these works are part of ‘cultures of protest’ that, while critiquing structural issues like racism, settler colonialism, and ableism, are ultimately skeptical of or ambivalent about the possibilities of reparation. Instead, these texts evoke new social realities where the ghosted haunt the beneficiaries of power, a nonviolent act that begets retributive justice. As of September 2022, I have completed drafting three of five total chapters and plan to draft the fourth in the coming weeks. I plan to defend in late April 2023.

I have been fortunate to present most recently at the 25th Annual meeting of the Q-Grad Queer Graduate Student Research Conference as well as at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Annual Conference, The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS) Annual Conference, and the Marxist Literary Group Institute On Culture and Society. I have held memberships to the above associations as well as the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) and the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures (ASAIL).

At UMiami, I have served in the Graduate Student Association (GSA) as Parliamentarian (2021-2022), Senator (2018-), and Chairperson for several committees, including the Constitutional Review Committee (2021-2022), the Committee on Graduate Student Organizations (2021-2022), and the Committee for Social and Civic Engagement (2018-2021). I was recipient of the 2018-2019 Best Senator Award and two consecutive GSA awards for Academic Excellence, Leadership, and Service (AELS). In 2022, I was nominated to the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). Within the Department of English, I have served as Co-Chair (2020-2022) and am now the Chair of the English Graduate Organization (2022-2023).

My poetry was awarded the First Annual Writers’ Harvest Student Reading Award from the Department of English at Clemson University. My poetry and/or fiction has also appeared or is forthcoming in The Chronicle, Flash Fiction MagazineThe MothPoetry Quarterly, and New Reader Magazine. I was a reader and blogger for Spry Literary Journal and Flash Fiction Editor for Crack the Spine Literary Magazine. Since 2016, I have been the Editor-in-Chief of KAIROS Literary Magazine, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization I co-founded while at Clemson University. KAIROS publishes four times annually, including a print paperback volume, and is a member of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP).