There’s a Disco Ball Between Us: A Theory of Black Gay Life by Jafari S. Allen

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Jafari S. Allen offers a sweeping and lively ethnographic and intellectual history of Black queer politics, culture, and history in the 1980s as they emerged out of radical Black lesbian activism and writing.

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In There’s a Disco Ball Between Us, Jafari S. Allen offers a sweeping and lively ethnographic and intellectual history of what he calls “Black gay habits of mind.” In conversational and lyrical language, Allen locates this sensibility as it emerged from radical Black lesbian activism and writing during the long 1980s. He traverses multiple temporalities and locations, drawing on research and fieldwork conducted across the globe, from Nairobi, London, and Paris to Toronto, Miami, and Trinidad and Tobago. In these locations and archives, Allen traces the genealogies of Black gay politics and cultures in the visual art, poetry, film, Black feminist theory, historiography, and activism of thinkers and artists such as Audre Lorde, Marsha P. Johnson, Essex Hemphill, Colin Robinson, Marlon Riggs, Pat Parker, and Joseph Beam. Throughout, Allen renarrates Black queer history while cultivating a Black gay method of thinking and writing. In so doing, he speaks to the urgent contemporary struggles for social justice while calling on Black studies to pursue scholarship, art, and policy derived from the lived experience and fantasies of Black people throughout the world.

There’s a Disco Ball Between Us: A Theory of Black Gay Life by Jafari S. Allen
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