I'm currently a graduate student in Global History at the Freie Universität Berlin. My work focuses on the transnational intellectual history of queer movements.
Ways of Spirit, Ways of Flesh
My current project, originally incubated in a DAAD-funded fellowship at the Magnus Hirschfeld Society in Berlin, Germany. It compares and contrasts queer identity formation in interwar Germany and postwar California, identifying a geneaology of white queer activists using ideas about indigenous peoples to produce identities focused on queerness as a form of affective labor, in which queer identities were seen to perform spiritual labor that complemented straight reproductive labor. I interrogate the extent to which these models engaged with the colonial conditions of their production. I relate these activists to and root them in broader artistic, cultural, and social movements that called upon ideas about indigenous cultures alongside romantic, universalist, and often racist visions of the body to create visions of utopic futures.
For the past six years, I've been steadily working on a new intellectual biography of Harry Hay; a queer theorist, early movement leader, and general troublemaker active in California between the 1930s and his death in 2002. I make new claims about the origins and implications of his ideas about relationships and activism, and discovered a new relationship unmentioned in existing biographies. Thanks to generous grants from NYU's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Student Senators Council, I completed considerable archive research in 2013 and 2014 in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Read this work in an excerpted version, with certain aspects further developed, on OUTHistory (edited by John D'Emilio). It is forthcoming in German in Invertito: Fachverband Homosexualität und Geschichten (Fall 2017).
This article discusses developments in New York City's gay press in the 1960s, arguing that publications provided essential space for queer self-representation and identification. It was published in the Chicago Journal of History in Fall 2013. Download PDF.
Based on Jurgen Lemke's Gay Voices in East Germany (an archive of oral histories recorded secretly throughout the 1970s and 1980s) and items from the archives and exhibits of the Schwueles Museum Berlin, this paper argues that despite 1969 representing the formal end of the legal persecution of queers in both East and West Germany, the law was experienced in variegated ways that differed sharply and often unexpectedly. It was published in NYU's Historian journal in Spring 2013. Download PDF.
Conferences and Talks
Doing Queer History as Activist Work | WelcomeOUT Festival | Uppsala, Sweden | September 2017
An Eldorado of Sensual Love | Schwules* Museum Berlin | Berlin, DE | August 2017
Phi Alpha Theta Regional History Conference | Oswego, NY | April 2014
Phi Alpha Theta Biennial History Conference | Albuquerque, NM | January 2014