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Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Although the black diaspora is often conceptualized primarily in terms of race, sexuality has been equally foundational to the construction of black diasporic culture and politics. ""Queer Natives"" begins from the premise that the black diaspora poses a historical and conceptual challenge to dominant histories and theories of sexuality in queer studies, which have tended to privilege white Euro-American experiences. Taking the black diaspora as a unit of analysis requires re-thinking not only the historical and theoretical utility of identity categories such as gay, lesbian, and bisexual, but, arguably, more foundational categories such as normative and non-normative. During the first half of the twentieth century, black diasporic intellectuals sought to define racial and sexual normativity, two concepts which became mutually constitutive. As black subjects negotiated their regional, national, and transnational affiliations, forms of racial and sexual normativity became foundational and contested elements. The authors who anchor this study---Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Leopold Senghor, Jomo Kenyatta, and Frantz Fanon---both constructed and contested black normativity across diaspora."