Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success

Strengthening and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Virginia Commonwealth University

The Queer Research and Advocacy Center, or Q Collective, will host author/scholar E. Patrick Johnson and convene the first Q Symposium with workshops, talks, presentations, and a film screening from March 28 to April 1

There is going to be a lot of conversation about Black queer love at VCU during the last week of March, 2022.

Not only is “Black. Queer. Love.” the title of the inaugural symposium presented by the Queer Research and Advocacy Center from March 30th to April 1st, but it is also a subject visiting author / scholar E. Patrick Johnson has extensively researched and documented. Johnson’s visit will include a talk about his latest book and a screening of the oral history film “Making Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.”

Full schedules of both the E. Patrick Johnson visit and the Q Symposium can be found at the website for the Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success (IES) which hosts and supports the Q Collective.

“Dr. Johnson is a towering figure in the field and we are fortunate to have him share his work and experience as a scholar, performer and academic leader throughout a variety of settings on campus,” says Maurice Gattis, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Social Work and Senior Advisor for the Q Collective. “His work is very thought provoking and I am sure that attendees will be talking about his ideas well after he leaves campus.“ 

Johnson has distinguished himself as a leader in the African-American LGBTQIA+ community through his research and artistry, founding the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern University where he currently serves as dean of the School of Communication. He wrote “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South-An Oral History” in 2008 and his process of reconnecting with six men he interviewed for the book is the basis for the film, “Making Sweet Tea.”

His latest book is “HoneyPot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women” and, in it, Johnson bears witness to the real-life stories of queer Black women throughout the American South. Other events during his visit include a mentoring workshop and a student mixer.

The book signing event for “HoneyPot” will serve as the kick-off for the Q Symposium, entitled “Black. Queer. Love.” The symposium will bring together leaders and scholars across several different departments at VCU and, in a unique closing virtual presentation, a series of revolutionary thinkers from around the country in a panel entitled, “Boundless: Black Futurity & Worldmaking in the Age of Catastrophe.” This panel was envisioned and curated by Dr. Julian Kevon Glover and is co-sponsored with VCU’s Department of Dance and Choreography

“The inaugural Q Symposium will provide an outlet for rigorous intellectual engagement that centers the lives of members of a vibrant and dynamic community,” says Gattis. “Examining and celebrating Black queer love by including perspectives from a variety of disciplines is in line with VCU’s commitment to inclusive excellence and we look forward to engaging with the campus community during the events,“ he says.

“I am thrilled to see these events come to fruition,” says Archana Pathak, Ph.D., interim director of the Q Collective. “They were originally planned for March 2020; and we all know what happened then.” Pathak says that Johnson’s visit and the Q Symposium embody the mission, purpose and goals of the Q Collective. “We are committed to building community through creative and scholarly endeavors that explore the intersectional lives of LGBTQ communities and doing so in ways that are accessible to and honor the members of those communities,” she concludes.

The Q Symposium will run from March 30th through April 1st.

Please check the schedules for both the E. Patrick Johnson visit and the Q Symposium on the IES website; some events require pre-registration.

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