Lecture and Discussion with Ben Miller on his research into Harry Hay, the relationship between the German and American “sexual liberation” movements, and Queer Marxism
Based on eight months of research in the archives of the Schwules* Museum as well as other institutions in both Berlin and California, this talk examines the evolution of a genealogy of queer identity formation between different nation-states and different formations of same-sex identities. Anthropological and ethnographic research into indigenous peoples around the world (constructed variously as “nature-peoples,” “primitive” peoples, and “native” peoples) enabled generations of white queer activists in conversation to develop analyses of queerness that meaningfully challenged the socioeconomic regimes in which those activists were situated. However, not all of these analyses engaged with the racism and colonialism inherent in their own creation. This talk will ask (and begin to answer) these questions: to what extent did these activists seek citizenship and state recognition for themselves and their community, and to what extent did they seek to make a new world? What were the connections between Berlin and Los Angeles that made those sites such fertile ground for the development of radical same-sex identities?