An Inaugural Black Queer Sexuality Studies Graduate Student Conference
Princeton University’s first annual Black Queer Sexuality Studies Conference was held on October 20, 2012. The conference created a public forum for dialogue on innovative research across the many disciplines and fields that interrogate sites of Blackness and queerness and the intersections between the two. We invited graduate students from within and outside of Princeton University to present original work in a multi-panel, one-day conference. Kara Keeling, assistant professor at the University of Southern California in the Critical Studies of Cinematic Arts and in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity served as keynote speaker.
The inaugural theme, “Intersections,” aimed to illumine the interdisciplinary work characteristic of Black queer sexuality studies. In the seminal anthology Black Queer Studies, E. Patrick Johnson and Mae G. Henderson introduced the field and the volume with a host of claims about how to embrace the intersectionality at its core: “[work in the field should] endorse the double cross of affirming the inclusivity mobilized under the sign of ‘queer’ while claiming the racial, historical and cultural specificity attached to the marker ‘Black’.” Johnson and Henderson sought to open up space for academic inquiry that married the methodologies and activist impulses of Black studies and queer studies in order to finally animate the study of a number of traditional disciplines. Honoring the crucial work of pioneering scholars of Black queer studies, our conference sought to foster dialogue between emerging scholars whose work engages both Black and queer studies.