Socialism in Black Queer Time: The Nineteen Seventies and the Erotic Potentials of Radical Politics by Roderick Ferguson
Location: Lewis Library 138
Date/Time: 10/16/13 at 4:30 pm - 10/16/13 at 6:00 pm
This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Department of English, the Center for African American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies
This talk engages the history of black queer diasporic formations in the nineteen seventies as part of radical attempts to reimagine and eroticize socialist imaginations. The talk situates these formations within a social and political context in which various modes of difference were being mobilized to illustrate and expand the symbolic flexibility and the “writerly” potentials of socialism. Here we might think of the politically imaginative work of the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords, the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, the 1978 Socialist-Feminist Conference, the radical queer activist group Gay Liberation Front and so on. The talk uses these formations as the context for arguing that this decade of socialist experimentation was one in which black queer activists and artists were central. More directly, those activists and artists were part of various projects to revise socialism in accordance with an interest in politicizing homoerotic desires and eroticizing anti-racist and socialist visions. To illustrate the decade’s experimentations with blackness, socialism, and queer desire, the talk reads the writings of Third World Gay Revolution—a 1970 U.S.-based black and Latino socialist group—and Isaac Julien’s Young Soul Rebels, a 1991 film about the emergence of soul music in Britain as the context for thinking the convergence of socialist politics, race, and homoeroticism.
Roderick A. Ferguson is professor of race and critical theory at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Reorder of Things: The University and Its Pedagogies of Minority Difference (Difference Incorporated) (Minnesota, 2012) and Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minnesota, 2003) and the co-editor of Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization (Duke University Press, 2011).
Department: Center for African American Studies