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Vincent Price, a doctoral student in education, claimed the top prize during the final round of UT’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition held the week of April 10, 2017 as part of Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.The competition challenged master’s and doctoral students to present a compelling talk on their thesis or dissertation to an audience unfamiliar with the topic. Students had three minutes to explain their research and could use only one image or slide.
Price’s presentation was titled “Not Only . . . But Also: Blending the Binary Approaches of Teaching Black Literature.”“My dissertation focuses on how high school English teachers teach black literature,” he said. He suggested that some teachers focus on broad themes, such as adolescence, adversity, and childhood, while others focus on cultural specifics, often comparing one black author’s work to another. 

“I suggest taking both approaches and combining them into one,” Price said. For instance, he said, a teacher using the Ernest Gaines book A Lesson Before Dying could zoom out to examine the general theme of community and its role and then zoom in to examine the system of injustice against young black males. The teacher would then examine the theme of community of a non-black author and zoom in once again to examine the cultural specifics within that text.

“What this ongoing process of zooming in and zooming out does is create conversations not only between the texts but also within each text; not only between the students but also within each student—thus giving us the chance to expand how we see ourselves, expand how we see we each other, and expand how we interact in and with the world.”

Watch the finalists’ presentations here.