Welcome. I am a Lecturer in the Program in Museums and Society and Director of the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center at Johns Hopkins University. My research and teaching combine archival, ethnographic, oral history, and public humanities methods to examine the world-making practices of marginalized publics in the United States, with a focus on intersections of gender, sexuality, and race. 

My current book project, Kids on the Street: Queer Kinship, Religion, and Performative Economies in San Francisco’s Tenderloin (under contract, Duke University Press) explores the social worlds that abandoned and runaway street kids, their patrons, and their protectors have created over the last fifty years in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The book draws on interdisciplinary methods to investigate the social trauma

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inflicted on street kids and the ways they have worked, collectively and creatively, to reinterpret and those experiences through religious ritual, performative storytelling, migratory circuits, and queer kinship networks. My academic writing has appeared in Radical History Review, The Public Historian, The Abusable Past, and Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies.

I have launched several award-winning, multi-year public humanities projects. My first large-scale project at JHU is the Peabody Ballroom Experience, a collaboration with the queer and trans people of color who make up Baltimore’s ballroom scene. I am also part of a team that in 2020 won a $4.4 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to launch Inheritance Baltimore: Humanities and Arts Education for Black Liberation. In 2010, I was awarded the American Historical Association’s Allan Bérubé Prize for Polk Street: Lives in Transition, a project that drew on oral histories to intervene in debates about gentrification, homelessness, sex work, queer politics, and public safety in the polarized setting of gentrifying San Francisco. From 2010-2012, I developed a historical reenactment project, Vanguard Revisited, which introduced the history of queer street youth political organizing to marginally housed youth in the Tenderloin. The project staged a re-enactment of a 1960s Vanguard rebellion, turning a street-level counter-memory of violence and resistance into a call for economic justice. 

I completed my PhD in American Studies at Yale University with a Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My work has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and fellowships at the New York Public Library and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.