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Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists: Queer Women in the Urban South--La Shonda Mims in conversation with Julie Enszer

Event date: 
Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

Charis welcomes La Shonda Mims in conversation with Julie Enszer for a discussion of Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists: Queer Women in the Urban South. Uniting southern women's history with urban history, La Shonda Mims considers an imaginatively constructed archive including feminist newsletters and queer bar guides alongside sources revealing corporate boosterism and political rhetoric to explore the complex nature of lesbian life in the South. This event is co-hosted by Sinister Wisdom. Sinister Wisdom is a multicultural lesbian literary & art journal that publishes four issues each year. Publishing since 1976, Sinister Wisdom works to create a multicultural, multi-class lesbian space.

After World War II, Atlanta and Charlotte emerged as leading urban centers in the South, redefining the region through their competing metropolitan identities. Both cities also served as home to queer communities who defined themselves in accordance with their urban surroundings and profited to varying degrees from the emphasis on economic growth. 

Mims's work reveals significant differences between gay men's and lesbian women's lived experiences, with lesbians often missing out on the promises of prosperity that benefitted some members of gay communities. Money, class, and race were significant variables in shaping the divergent life experiences for the lesbian communities of Atlanta and Charlotte; whiteness especially bestowed certain privileges. In Atlanta, an inclusive corporate culture bolstered the city's queer community. In Charlotte, tenacious lesbian collectives persevered, as many queer Charlotteans leaned on Atlanta's enormous Pride celebrations for sanctuary when similar institutional community supports were lacking at home. 

La Shonda Mims is an Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University. Concerned with the intersections of gender, race, region, and queer identity, her book, Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists, published by the University of North Carolina Press, examines lesbian life in Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Her 2019 article, published in the Journal of Women’s History, explores lesbian-feminist action in the urban New South. Mims is currently at work on two research projects: the first interrogates the transnational history of Pentecostalism and queer identity, while her newest work examines mass incarceration and sex policing.

Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is the author of four poetry collections, including Avowed, and the editor of OutWrite: The Speeches that Shaped LGBTQ Literary CultureFire-Rimmed Eden: Selected Poems by Lynn LonidierThe Complete Works of Pat Parker, and Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989. Enszer edits and publishes Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal. You can read more of her work at www.JulieREnszer.com

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

Please contact us at info@chariscircle.org or 404-524-0304 if you would like ASL interpretation at this event. If you would like to watch the event with live AI captions, you may do so by watching it in Google Chrome and enabling captions: Instructions here. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

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Event address: 
CROWDCAST
Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists: Queer Women in the Urban South By La Shonda Mims Cover Image
$27.45
ISBN: 9781469670553
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of North Carolina Press - December 6th, 2022

After World War II, Atlanta and Charlotte emerged as leading urban centers in the South, redefining the region through their competing metropolitan identities. Both cities also served as home to queer communities who defined themselves in accordance with their urban surroundings and profited to varying degrees from the emphasis on economic growth.


Event Summary: 
An imaginatively constructed archive including feminist newsletters and queer bar guides alongside sources revealing corporate boosterism and political rhetoric to explore the complex nature of lesbian life in the South.