Welcome

Jafari S Allen is Associate Professor of African American Studies, and Anthropology; and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program Director of Graduate Studies.

Areas of Interest:
Race, sexuality, gender; Cuba and the Caribbean; diaspora and transnationalism; anthropologies of race, and anthropologies of gender and sexuality; critical cultural studies and social theory; ethnographic methodology and writing; Black studies; social-cultural anthropology; feminist and queer studies.

Jafari Sinclaire Allen’s scholarship and teaching seek to open new lines of inquiry and offer new or re-invigorated methods of narrative theorizing in anthropology, Black diaspora studies, and feminist and queer studies. He is a fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University, and a past recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council Sexuality Research Program, Rockefeller Foundation [Diasporic Racisms Project], and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale.

Engaged in ethnographic research in Cuba and the Caribbean for fifteen years, he has transnational research interests in a number of other sites in the Americas. Recent research has also taken him to East Africa and Western Europe. Currently, Professor Allen is working on books and other projects that take up Black/queer sociality and various forms of ‘movement’ through the conceptual space he calls “After Revolution / Before Freedom.” This project is comprised of one book nearing completion (Black/Queer Here & There), a series of critical essays and collaborative works, and a third monograph, Structural Adjustments in the Black 1980s.

Black/Queer Here & There interrogates “high” and “low” forms of Black (and) queer cultural production, travel, consumption, and political action. Based on more than two years of multi-sited ethnographic and archival research, this work performs and theorizes what emerged as three converging itineraries of interdisciplinary inquiry. The first itinerary constructs historical and contemporary case studies of (trans) local LGBTQ, and HIV/AIDS community-based organizing and social movements (in the US, UK, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kenya). The second itinerary takes up visions of the transnational in Black/queer works— focusing on contemporary visual art, pornography, film, and Facebook groups and personal profiles, in the recent historical context of the late 1970s and 1980s emergence of autonomous Black gay and lesbian culture and politics. Finally, it pursues flows and friction in travel, “humanitarian” activism, and other forms of translocal exchange (between UK, East and South Africa, US, the Caribbean and Brazil) in the third itinerary.

Returning to the historical moment “After Revolution/Before Freedom,” Dr. Allen’s third book, tentatively titled Structural Adjustments in the Black 1980s, will trace the emergence of critical Black cultural studies, and Black gay and lesbian cultural and political movements, in the context of Reagan/Thatcher, HIV/AIDS and crack, in the US and UK.

Allen is the author of the critical ethnography of race, gender, sexuality and revolution, ¡Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-Making in Cuba; editor of Black/Queer/Diaspora; and the author of the new introduction (“Crucial Palimpsest: Re-Reading Brother to Brother”) to Brother to Brother: New Writings By Black Gay Men, and a number of other publications in, for example: American Ethnologist; GLQ; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society; Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power; and Handbook of Sexuality, Health and Human Rights.

Professor Allen earned a PhD in Social Cultural Anthropology at Columbia University in 2004, and is an alumnus of Morehouse College and New York University. He taught at the department of Anthropology, and Center for African and African American Studies’ (now Department of African and African Diaspora Studies) Program in Anthropology of the African Diaspora, at The University of Texas-Austin, for six years.

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