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Queer Black History

Professor Cookie Woolner
Kalamazoo College

This course will introduce students to the historical study of LGBTQ African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. We will analyze primary sources such as letters, diaries, newspaper articles and blues songs, along with historical and interdisciplinary scholarship and films to learn about the experiences of same-sex loving and gender transgressing African Americans in the past. Topics to be covered will include: queering the Middle Passage; sex and power during chattel slavery; romantic friendships between women; scientific racism and sexology; the Great Migration; the Harlem Renaissance; sexuality in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements; Black lesbian feminism; the role of African Americans in the gay liberation movement; responses to the AIDS crisis and the intersection of gender and sexuality in the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement.

To access the complete syllabus, please click on the online version of the Queer Black History syllabus.

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