Association of Black Anthropologists
Oral Presentation Session
This paper will engage New Orleans black queer music and visual art scene as expressions of fugitivity in relation to ecologies of neo-plantocracy and neoliberal healthcare systems. New Orleans is home to a thriving black queer expressive culture that intersects carnival, the blues, and contemporary music genres like bounce music. This paper extend arguments that I make in my forthcoming book, Project Music: Deviance and Development in New Orleans Bounce. I explore the ways cultural production has provided these marginalized communities a form of social commentary to the circumstances of anti-black urban development in the wake of Katrina and ongoing inequities in public health care, such as HIV/AIDS interventions. This contemporary setting shares historical linkages to the post-bellum dismantling of reconstruction’s promise, such as the 1882 elimination of the Freedman Bureau’s medical services. This history intersects black marginalization to the most uninhabitable and flood prone parts of the city and the reliance on and chronic backlash toward African and Indigenous healing practices. Often prefigured as subjects of “risk and vulnerability,” how do the assumed excesses and “unhealthy” behaviors attributed to black and queer bodies, e.g. gender non-conformity and hypersexuality, also inform ideologies of excessive and uninhabitable land locally? What affective relations and forms of coproduction animate and link urban ecology, public health, and the fugitive practices of black queer artists? These relations and attachments will be explored through a combination of event analysis, oral history, and co-performance.