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E. PATRICK JOHNSON AND
MAE G. HENDERSON
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INTRODUCTION:
QUEERING BLACK STUDIES/
‘‘QUARING’’ QUEER STUDIES
Black Queer Studies serves as a critical intervention in the discourses of black
studies and queer studies. In seeking to interanimate both black studies and
queer studies, this volume stages a dialogic and dialectic encounter between
these two liberatory and interrogatory discourses. Our objective here is to
build a bridge and negotiate a space of inquiry between these two fields of
study while sabotaging neither and enabling both. To this end, we have put
into dialogue a group of critics, writers, scholars, and cultural producers
whose work links the twentieth-century achievements of black studies—a
field that came of age in the 1970s and 1980s—with that of the still-emergent
field of queer studies. The essays collected here reflect the scholarship of a
broad range of theorists and cultural workers who principally engage black
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. Many of these essays were first
presented at the Black Queer Studies in the Millennium conference held at
the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on April 4–6, 2000. But for the
sake of inclusiveness, some essays not presented at the conference but repre-
senting the work of the attendees have been incorporated; and still others
have been added to broaden and complement the disciplinary and method-
ological range and scope of the collection.
Although these essays span diverse disciplines and deploy multiple meth-
odologies, they only begin to mine the rich theoretical terrain of black studies
as it intersects with queer studies. Notably, many of the authors included in
this volume are in the humanities as opposed to the social sciences, a bias that
is a reflection of the background of the editors rather than a deliberate
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