Queer History 101

Get one essential queer history book delivered to your door each month, curated by award-winning historian Dr. Eric Cervini.

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December's Selection

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman

Among all of the thorny challenges of studying the queer past, perhaps the most difficult is the question of how to approach gaps in historical archives. In this genre-redefining work, Professor Saidiya Hartman applies traditions of Black and African storytelling to the silences in the record of early 20th-century Black women, laboring with love to reveal truth and find possibility within the lives of everyday women who sought freedom through forbidden, intimate forms of kinship during one of the darkest periods of Black American history. 

Rejecting the historical fetish for exceptionally accomplished or well-documented individuals, Professor Hartman illuminates the lives of myriad Black women between 1890 and 1920 who are visible only in archival glimpses, deploying stunningly imaginative and stirringly beautiful speculative fiction to fill in the gaps in their stories. In doing so, she makes a compelling argument that to understand America past and present, we should seek to learn about the queer worlds that Black women have built and continue to build within its remotest margins—and affirms that in the most oppressive of circumstances, and in more ways than one, subversive sexuality has long been an utterly necessary part of survival.


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Meet the Authors

Enjoy free access to conversations between Eric Cervini and the queer historians, activists, and living legends who have authored some of his very favorite queer history books. These interviews include many of the most celebrated queer scholars of all time — don’t miss out on their truly extraordinary insights into the canon of queer history!