Cover for Avilez: Black Queer Freedom: Spaces of Injury and Paths of Desire. Click for larger image

Black Queer Freedom

Spaces of Injury and Paths of Desire

Mapping a geography of black queer life through art

Whether engaged in same-sex desire or gender nonconformity, black queer individuals live with being perceived as a threat while simultaneously being subjected to the threat of physical, psychological, and socioeconomic injury. Attending to and challenging threats has become a defining element in queer black artists’ work throughout the black diaspora. GerShun Avilez analyzes the work of diasporic artists who, denied government protections, have used art to create spaces for justice. He first focuses on how the state seeks to inhibit the movement of black queer bodies through public spaces, whether on the street or across borders. From there, he pivots to institutional spaces--specifically prisons and hospitals--and the ways such places seek to expose queer bodies in order to control them. Throughout, he reveals how desire and art open routes to black queer freedom when policy, the law, racism, and homophobia threaten physical safety, civil rights, and social mobility.

"Black Queer Freedom is an outstanding work of literary and cultural criticism, and exemplary of the riches to be had in black queer studies. It illuminates how space--be it the street, the prison, the hospital, or the place of labor--mediates our injury and our desire. The black queer subject, what Avilez calls 'the injury-bound subject,' is shaped by spatial injury and vulnerability and also enlivened by desire. Avilez explores how black queer artists articulate the erotic imperative of spatial justice, offering artistic address that exceed legal redress available for black queer people. Considering a wide array of genres—poetry, fiction, memoir, ethnography, oral history, and portraiture--and traversing a wide terrain—Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States--Avilez shows the capaciousness of black queer life and art and indeed guides us to reach higher ground where freedom is possible."--Dagmawi Woubshet, author of The Calendar of Loss: Race, Sexuality, and Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS

"With pristine writing and bold thinking about queer desire, gender, and spatial justice, Avilez's Black Queer Freedom is a timely addition to the growing body of scholarship on black vulnerability, trauma, and queerness. Avilez dynamically illustrates how gender non-conforming artists are important to challenging the boundaries of black freedom."--L. H. Stallings, author of Funk the Erotic: Transaesthetics and Black Sexual Cultures


GerShun Avilez is an associate professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Radical Aesthetics and Modern Black Nationalism.

To order online:
//www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/56zfk8xh9780252043376.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
A Hero on Mount St. Helens - Cover
A Hero on Mount St. Helens

The Life and Legacy of David A. Johnston

Melanie Holmes

Pleasure in the News - Cover
Pleasure in the News

African American Readership and Sexuality in the Black Press

Kim Gallon

Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr. - Cover
Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.

Popular Black History in Postwar America

E. James West

Passing the Baton - Cover
Passing the Baton

Black Women Track Stars and American Identity

Cat M. Ariail

The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago - Cover
The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago

Anthony Overton and the Building of a Financial Empire

Robert E. Weems Jr.

Black Music Research Journal - Cover
Black Music Research Journal

Edited by Gayle Murchison

Reimagining Liberation - Cover
Reimagining Liberation

How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire

Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel

Black Sexual Economies - Cover
Black Sexual Economies

Race and Sex in a Culture of Capital

Edited by Adrienne D. Davis and the BSE Collective

Roots of the Black Chicago Renaissance - Cover
Roots of the Black Chicago Renaissance

New Negro Writers, Artists, and Intellectuals, 1893-1930

Edited by Richard A. Courage and Christopher Robert Reed

James Baldwin and the 1980s - Cover
James Baldwin and the 1980s

Witnessing the Reagan Era

Joseph Vogel

Women, Gender, and Families of Color - Cover
Women, Gender, and Families of Color

Edited by Jennifer F. Hamer

African Art Reframed - Cover
African Art Reframed

Reflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture

Bennetta Jules-Rosette and J.R. Osborn

Lost in the USA - Cover
Lost in the USA

American Identity from the Promise Keepers to the Million Mom March

Deborah Gray White

Autochthonomies - Cover
Autochthonomies

Transnationalism, Testimony, and Transmission in the African Diaspora

Myriam J. A. Chancy