UW Today

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February 21, 2008

One-man show tells tales of black gay men in the South

The UW Bothell’s Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program presents a performance of Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell the Tales at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the North Creek Events Center.


This one-man show, featuring E. Patrick Johnson, relates the stories of black gay men, ages 19 to 93, who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South. Their tales, collected in Johnson’s forthcoming book, Sweet Tea: An Oral History of Black Gay Men of the South, engage such topics as coming of age in the South, religion, sex, transgenderism, and coming out.


On the Seattle campus, Johnson will discuss Performance as Method: Ethnography, Cultural Studies, and Performance Praxis from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in 226 Communications. In this presentation, Johnson will answer the question of how performance, as an embodied research practice, may be used to document and interpret ethnographic encounters, drawing on his field research with black gay Southern men to argue that performance studies provides a critical lens for analyzing and documenting ethnographic research.


Both events are free and open to the public.


E. Patrick Johnson is chair and director of graduate studies in the Department of Performance Studies, and professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University. His first book, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (2003) won several national awards. He co-edited (with Mae G. Henderson) Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology (2005) and recently finished Sweet Tea: An Oral History of Black Gay Men in the South (2007).


In addition to his published work, Johnson is a performing artist. His one-man show, Strange Fruit, toured the United States between 1999 and 2004. He is currently performing staged readings of Sweet Tea, and is working on an anthology of black queer performance texts and researching queer sexuality and performance in the black church.


These events, co-sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Hilen Endowment for American Literature and Culture and the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, are part of the 2007-2008 New Formations of Cultural Studies series, a project related to the ongoing work of the Cultural Studies Praxis Collective.


The series focuses on cross-methodological and translocal research projects designed to generate new scholarship on the multiple locations of cultural studies. New Formations of Cultural Studies marks the launch of a community-based Master of Arts in Cultural Studies at UW Bothell in Autumn 2008. For more information about the master’s program, visit http://www.uwb.edu/IAS/macs.