Robert Reid-Pharr Named 2016 Matthiessen Professor

January 28, 2016

WGS is thrilled to welcome Robert Reid-Pharr, Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center, as the Matthiessen Visiting Professor of Gender and Sexuality.  During his residence at Harvard in fall 2016, Reid-Pharr will teach two courses: Black Masculinities in Literature, Film, and Visual Culture and our theory foundation course, Theories of Race and Sexuality.

photo of Robert Reid-Pharr

WOMGEN 1273. Black Masculinities in Literature, Film, and Visual Culture

With particular emphasis on mid-twentieth century American culture, this seminar will examine complex—and often contradictory—iterations of race and gender in works of literary and visual culture produced by and about African American men. We will explore the work of: Shirley Clarke, Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Alice Walker, Melvin Van Peebles, Samuel Delany, James Baldwin, Robert Deane Pharr, Eldridge Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, and more.

WOMGEN 1210. Theories of Race and Sexuality

Emphasizing the development of (transgressive) discourses of gender and sexuality within communities of color, this course will examine key contemporary texts addressing transgender identity, H.I.V./A.I.D.S., abjection, queer of color critique, reproduction and pornography. We will explore the work of: C. Riley Snorton, Dagmawi Woubshet, Darieck Scott, Sharon Holland, Roderick A. Ferguson, Jose Munoz, Samuel Delany, Jennifer C. Nash, Jasbir Puar, and more. 

Reid-Pharr is the author of Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire, and the Black American Intellectual, Conjugal Union: The Body, the House, and the Black American, and Black Gay Man: Essays, which won the Randy Shilts Award for Best Gay Non-Fiction. He has taught at the University of Oxford, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago, the University of Oregon, and Swarthmore College.

The F.O. Matthiessen Visiting Professorship of Gender and Sexuality was created thanks to a generous gift from members and supporters of Harvard’s LGBTQ alumni group, the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Caucus (now the Havard Gender & Sexuality Caucus). The resulting endowment enables Harvard to invite eminent scholars studying issues related to sexual minorities -- that is, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people -- or to sexuality, to teach in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Matthiessen Professorship is named after F. O. Matthiessen (1902–1950), founder of the field of American Studies and a distinguished gay Harvard professor. Matthiessen chaired the undergraduate program in history and literature at Harvard and was the first senior tutor of Eliot House.

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