Mignon Moore: “Towards a Sociocultural History of Black Lesbian Sexuality and Community”

April 12, 2019
11:00 amto12:30 pm

Knight Library Browsing Room

Sally Miller Gearhart Lecture in Lesbian Studies

Mignon Moore, Professor of Sociology and Department Chair, Barnard College and Columbia University

“Towards a Sociocultural History of Black Lesbian Sexuality and Community”

This work examines the development of community and identity around sexual desire for black sexual minority women in the  1950s and early 1960s.  Drawing from archival materials, oral histories, in-depth interviews, and African-American periodicals, it  argues that the practice of black lesbian identity is historically shaped by two areas of social life:  the church, or religious ideologies and structures that organize racial communities, and the streets, or the nightlife and informal economy where public and semi-public expressions of same-sex desire take place.

It is through the intersection of race and sexuality that we learn more about how cultural experiences unify populations organized around same-sex desire.  The findings encourage researchers to think more purposefully about the relationships between racial/ethnic identity and culture in the development of sexual minority communities.

The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is hosting this event with gratitude to Carla Blumberg, who established the Sally Miller Gearhart Fund to promote and enhance lesbian studies, and to the support from friends and fans of Sally Miller Gearhart.