Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Richard H. Schein


This dissertation investigates the place-making practices of African American lesbians in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1990 to 2010. For this project, I ask how African American lesbians claim space to examine how race, sexuality, and class shape their place-making practices. The study is situated in the city before and following the 1996 Olympic Games, which was a period of rapid social, economic, and political growth.

The primary question posed in this study is as follows: How do African American lesbians claim space in Atlanta? This dissertation posits three arguments. First, African American queer spaces are transitory, reflecting the shrinking boundaries of black neighborhoods within the contemporary city. Second, these spaces are informed and forged by the sexual, racial, and classed identities of participants. Third, through their place-making practices, struggles, and contestations over public space, African Americans have transformed sites in the city into black queer cartographies.

In this empirically informed study, I employ ethnographic research methods, participant observation, archival research, oral histories, and in-depth interviews. By positioning black queer cartographies within the larger schematic of African American life, this work extends current understandings of queer space and builds on the growing subarea of black queer geographies (McBride 2007; Bailey 2011; Eaves 2017). Multiple sites that reflect the transitory and clandestine nature of locating queer space are mentioned in the work. Within Atlanta’s neighborhoods of Midtown, Southwest Atlanta, and Westside, African American lesbians curated spaces that validated their identities and provided a sense of belonging during the period studied.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)