“Critical Intersectionalities of Race and Sexuality: Aesthetics, Limits, Dangers, Opportunities” at #MLA16

This session of the MLA Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada, in cooperation with the GL/Q Caucus for the Modern Languages, revisits the significance of Kimberle Crenshaw’s now internationally famous 1989 articulation of intersectionality, here within the context of contemporary literary and cultural studies, to highlight contemporary conversations among race, ethnicities, and sexualities.


Marcellus Blount is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at Columbia University. His articles have appeared in a range of journals, including PMLA, Callaloo, and American Literary History. He co­edited Representing Black Men and, more recently, has completed “Listening for My Name: African American Men and the Politics of Friendship.” His current project is a study of issues related to race, marriage equality, and social justice.

La Marr Jurelle Bruce is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, critical theorist, language artist, Afromanticist, and Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Winner of the 2014 Weixlmann Prize from African American Review, he studies and teaches black expressive culture, protest art, queer theory, critical race theory, and performance studies. His manuscript ­in­progress, “How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness, Blackness, and Radical Creativity,” ponders black artists who mobilize “madness” for radical art­making, self­making, and world­making. His remarks for MLA draw upon his recent work on three queer poets of color who write while living with HIV and/or AIDS: Chicano­American poet Gil Cuadros, African­ American poet Melvin Dixon, and Afro­Boricua­American poet Miguel Algarin.

Erica R. Edwards is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside and the author of Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), which was awarded the MLA’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize. Her work on African American literature, politics, and gender critique has appeared in such journals as differences, Callaloo, American Quarterly, American Literary History, and Black Camera. Her remarks come from a new project, a book ­length black feminist study of the relationship between U. S. empire and Black American literature and culture entitled The Other Side of Terror: On the Imperial Grammars of Blackness.

Karen Jaime is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Performing and Media Arts/Latina/o Studies Program at Cornell University. Karen’s book project, Queering Poetry in Loisaida: Language, History, and Performance at the Nuyorican Poets Café uses hip­hop studies, alongside critical race, queer, literary, and performance theories in order to demonstrate the ways in which historically pejorative identity markers are recuperated and recodified as useful tools in the development of contemporary aesthetic practices. Karen is also an accomplished spoken work/performance artist.

Victor Roman Mendoza is an Assistant Professor in the departments of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mendoza’s book, Metroimperial Intimacies: Fantasy, RacialSexual Governance, and the Philippines in U.S. Imperialism, 1899-­1913 (forthcoming with Duke UP this fall 2015), argues that the ascendancy of overseas U.S. empire in the archipelago enabled a proliferation of unprecedented social and sexual intimacies between the figure of the Philippine native and other peoples.

Marcia Ochoa is Associate Professor and Chair of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She specializes in transgender studies, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, Latina/ studies, and Latin American Studies. She is an anthropologist specializing in the ethnography of media and her work focuses on the role of the imaginary in the survival of queer and transgender people in Latin America and the place of these subjects in the nation. She is the author of Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela (Duke UP, 2014). She is co­editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.

Chandan Reddy is Associate Professor of English and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University Of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality and the U. S. State (2013) which won the Alan Bray Memorial Award for Queer Studies from the MLA and the Best Book in Cultural Studies from the Asian American Studies Association. His remarks will draw from his latest project, Burials of Globalization: Race, Rights, and the Failures of Culture.

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