Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

“Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales”

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 17, 2008

How do Black gay men from the South build community and resist oppression? How do these narrators use the performance of “southerness” as a cultural identity?

Dr. E. Patrick Johnson, Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, and Professor in the Department of Performance Studies and Professor in African American Studies at Northwestern University, will be giving his performance “Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales” on Wednesday, March 19th at 7:00pm in the Ballroom (202) in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. This event is the final event of the Provost Lecture Series, the theme of which is “Cloning Terror, Telling Tales, and Surveying the Ruins.”

Dr. Johnson offers a performance based on oral histories of black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South. Collected between 2004 and 2006, these narratives document the lives of a diverse group of black gay men from fifteen different states, ages 19 to 94. He explores how these narrators use the performance of “southerness” as a cultural identity to simultaneously conform to southern cultural ideals, but also to mediate, transgress, and sometimes subvert them. They use those very ideals in order to build community and/or interject their own black gay subjectivity into a conservative southern landscape.

A reception will follow.

A scholar/artist, Johnson has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the areas of race, gender, sexuality and performance. His book Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity has won several awards, including the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He has co-edited Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology with Mae G. Henderson. Oral histories provide the foundation to both his performance at BGSU and his forthcoming book, Sweet Tea: An Oral History of the South.

Special Thanks go to the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate College, the Department of Theatre and Film, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the School of Art, the American Culture Studies Program, and the Office of the Provost.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at 419-372-0585.


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