Black.Queer.Diaspora: a Speculative Topography of Presence
A talk by Dr. Lyndon Gill
Location: Stanhope Hall 101
Date/Time: 04/07/11 at 12:00 pm - 04/07/11 at 1:20 pm
This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served. Space is limited to 18 people. RSVP to Jennifer Loessy at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space at the talk.
This talk is the result of two fertile moments in the recent articulation of what might provisionally be called âBlack Queer Diaspora Studies.â? As itâs birthmark, this presentation will bear the dual imprint of the 2007 panel Dr. Shaka McGlottenâs convened for the American Anthropological Associationâs annual meeting (Speculating Black, Speculating Queer: Toward a Black Queer Anthropology) and the inaugural symposium of the Black/Queer/Diaspora Working Group that Dr. Jafari Allen convened at Yale University in 2009. Following from conversations initiated in and spilling out from those eager moments of conception, Dr. Gill considers the contribution anthropological methods might make to a Black Queer Studies project interested in cultivating a diasporic consciousness. If âblack queernessâ is an epistemic location in flux, then what kinds of perspectival shifts might it encourage in theorizations of subjectivity? How do we begin to attend to the impermanent places black queer people inhabit and the procreative impermanence that inhabits black queerness? Dr. Gill begins answering these questions by turning to a particular black queer diasporic subject in order to flesh out the vanishing presence she represents as an Afro-Caribbean lesbian, her particular sense of selfhood, and the potential theoretical intervention her subjectivity proposes.
In the midst of all that, we may even make it to the beach.
Lyndon K. Gill received his Ph.D. in African American Studies and Anthropology (with a Secondary Field in Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality) and an A.M. in Anthropology from Harvard University. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with an A.B. in African and African American Studies. His scholarly interests include the aesthetics of black and Caribbean diasporas, queer cultural production, the socio-scientific construction of sex and gender, sexuality as a category of cultural analysis, ritual and corporality within performance genres, subjectivity, postcoloniality, desire and the erotic, and psycho-social healing and community building.
Professor Gill is currently preparing his book manuscript Transfiguring Trinidad and Tobago: queer cultural production, erotic subjectivity and the praxis of black queer anthropology for publication. Based upon sixteen months of ethnographic fieldworkâ ten months of which were sponsored by a Fulbright Research Grantâ the book proposes a new theoretical framework for the study of subjectivity through foregrounding the work of same-sex desiring communities and artists in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Carnival masquerade, calypso music and HIV/AIDS activism provide the interlinked terrain upon which to consider Trinbagonian same-sex desire and its place within a newer Caribbean cultural analysis. This study reveals the means by which the postcolonial tropes of civic equality, cultural authenticity and national belonging are both sought after and called into question by same-sex desiring communities.
While at the Center for African American Studies, Dr. Gill will continue researching his second book project. For this study, he looks to a particularly prominent diasporic site for self-defined, queer pan-Caribbean cultural production: Toronto, Canada. In this context, the Caribbean serves as a literal and figurative bridge between the two continents that constitute the Americas. He plans to conduct an ethnography based in the global North that foregrounds queer Afro-Caribbean artists and academicians who use artistry and theory to explore a sexuality-conscious transnationalism in a context shared with various other queer immigrant communities. Less about a particular location than about cultural interrelation, this study will take as its analytic focus cultural movement and interaction across an explicitly queer landscape.
Department: Center for African American Studies