Image of Philip Brett, musician, conductor, researcher, teacher, and alumnus
Philip Brett, musician, conductor, researcher, teacher, and alumnus

The second annual award from the Philip Brett LGBT Fund — to support Berkeley graduate students pursuing LGBT-related scholarship — has been chosen by a faculty committee from a highly competitive pool of 17 graduate students in fields ranging from film and media studies to sociology to public health to anthropology, and more.

This year’s awardee is Darren Arquero, a second-year Ph.D. student in Ethnic Studies. His research interests include transnational feminist and queer theories/theologies, cultural politics of gender and sexuality, Philippine and Filipino American studies, and migration and diaspora studies.

Arquero will make good use of the award to defray costs of participating in the 2013 Crosscurrents Research Colloquium in New York this summer. This month-long intensive, which “typically accepts participants who already have doctorates, professional degrees or ordination,” will enable him to “to advance his research on LGBT theology — [with] access to the region’s many important libraries and archival collections — while maintaining a sustained conversation with a select group of scholars, activists, and clergy,” wrote his faculty adviser Keith Feldman, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies.

In 2011 Arquero earned a B.A. cum laude at Rice University, majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. In his application for the Brett award, he wrote: “My current work in ethnic studies is an extension of my undergraduate thesis that focused on LGBT Christians… On the national level, I aim to …understand how race, when paired with religion, operates as mutual forms of social organization and control of queer Filipino bodies within and outside the United States. On the transnational level, I plan to conduct a comparative analysis of paglaladlad (Tagalog term ‘unfurling the cape,’ or coming-out process) for baklas (Filipino gay men) in the United States and the Philippines in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.”

The Brett Fund was founded in 2009 with contributions from faculty, staff, alumni, undergrads, grad students, and the Chancellor’s Challenge Fund. (Contributions to the Fund in any amount are still welcome.) It honors the memory of Philip Brett (1937-2002), who taught here 1966 to 1991 (and at UC Riverside and UCLA afterward). An eminent scholar of Renaissance and Baroque music and noted harpsichordist, Professor Brett also conducted UC Berkeley’s Chamber Chorus and chaired the Department of Music. In 1976 Brett caused a sensation in academia by examining how a composer’s sexual identity could inform his work, thus pioneering the emergence of lesbian and gay musicology.

That development was seminal to a primary founder of the Brett Fund, Davitt Moroney, Ph.D. ‘80, who was a graduate student under Brett here and is now Professor of Music, University Organist, and Director of the University Baroque Ensemble — and a longtime member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the LGBT Community at Cal.

The third annual competition for the Philip Brett Fellowship, open to all graduate students doing LGBT-related research in any field, will be held in spring 2014.