Author and Cornell University professor C. Riley Snorton, who has been listed as one of “Ten Transgender People You Should Know” by Black Entertainment Television, will speak in the Griot Institute for Africana Studies‘ Spring Lecture & Performance Series “Erasure: Blackness and the Fight Against Invisibility” on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre, Elaine Langone Center (ELC). Snorton will discuss the ascendance of Christine Jorgensen, dubbed America’s first transsexual celebrity, and violent racist suppression at home during the free, public lecture.
Focusing on the media narratives of Lucy Hicks Anderson, Georgia Black, and James McHarris/Annie Lee Grant that emerged in the black press, Snorton will offer other ways to narrate how black transsexual figures were mobilized to meditate on intramural black life, not simply as it related to matters of gender and sexuality but as it pertained to shifting notions of human valuation.
His research and teaching expertise includes cultural theory, queer and transgender theory and history, Africana studies, performance studies and popular culture. His book Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), traced the emergence and circulation of the down low in news and popular culture. His second book, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), uncovers the overlapping histories of blackness and trans identity from the 19th century to the present day. The books are available for purchase at the Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University Bookstore and will be on sale at the event.