My dissertation research, titled “Living in an (In)Visible World: Lesbians’ and Queer Women’s Spaces and Experiences of Justice and Oppression in New York City (1983-2008),” is a historical geography of contemporary lesbian and queer society, culture, and economies in New York City. This argument draws upon a combination of 22 within- and across-generation focus groups with 47 self-identified lesbians and queer women who came out between 1983 and 2008, as well as archival research at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City. My work argues that lgbtq liberation has been constrained by a limited spatial vocabulary that has, in large part, generally applied conceptions of gay men’s territorial spaces to its organizing without serious consideration of the other subjectivities within its population. Through my research, I offer alternative ways of speaking about lesbians’ and queer women’s productions of urban space whereby I argue against labeling lesbians and queer women as “invisible,” and, in so doing, examining the politics of visibility and invisibility used to inspire lgbtq people more broadly.
My recent position as an Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow afforded me the opportunity to carry on my project in Berlin, Germany. By pursuing identical methods—focus groups with self-identified lesbians and queer women in Berlin and archival research at the Spinnboden Lesben Archiv—I bring to light how the overlapping processes in the two “queer meccas” affect these women’s everyday lives. The resulting book will provide a countertopography comparing and connecting these places and these women’s experiences of them, all the while improving lgbtq coalition building through the support of strategic, transnational partnerships.
I am presently focused on two book projects as well as a series of articles. I am finishing a book, People, Place, and Space: A Reader, with William Mangold, Cindi Katz, Setha Low, and Susan Saegert which is forthcoming from Routledge in March of 2013. I am presently writing papers based on my dissertation research, namely about the idea and possibility of the “lesbian city,” as well as methodological insights into intergenerational focus groups and online data collecting. I am beginning work on the book version of my dissertation, incorporating the Berlin-based research, which is tentatively titled ‘Dyke New York: Lesbian and Queer Spaces, Economies, and Experiences of Justice and Oppression in New York City, 1983-2008.’