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Mickalene Thomas and the Black, Queer Female Origin of the Universe

Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, 258
232 East Ave, Central Campus

This talk works through Mickalene Thomas’s Origin of the Universe, a version of Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World that positions her black bedazzled vulva in place of an anonymous white model’s genitalia. In Thomas’ production of a decorative and intimate landscape, I argue that she portrays Audre Lorde's theories of the erotic as feminine and maternal. In this way, Thomas shows us the racialized contours of black queer female sexuality and illuminates through her use of the rhinestone how an attachment to surface and its excesses might redraw eroticism. 

Amber Jamilla Musser is an Associate Professor of American Studies at The George Washington University.

Free and open to the public. 

This event is sponsored by the Minority, Indigenous, and Third World Studies Research Group.

In/Difference: Queer, Affect, After Disidentifications
A Queer of Color Speaker Series

Organized by the Queer of Color Working Group, this year-long speaker series asks: What is at stake when we seek to think across difference in service of coalition-building across space and time? What resources does queer of color critique, a field that grapples with the entanglements of race, class, gender, and sexuality, have to offer in the face of our neoliberal present? Bringing together interdisciplinary scholars, this speaker series will help chart exciting and promising new approaches to queer of color critique that mobilize theory and praxis to forge coalitions across identity categories. This year, the invited scholars will address important issues such as imperial expansion in Puerto Rico, art and HIV/AIDS activism in the Caribbean, and the depoliticization of queer politics in the U.S.

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Event Type



Minority, Indigenous, Third World Studies (MITWS rg)


diversity, africal, fgsscal, lgbtstudiescal


Dr. Amber Jamilla Musser

Speaker Affiliation

Associate Professor of American Studies, The George Washington University

Dept. Web Site

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