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Visibly Hidden: Exploring Queer Masculinities in 1950s Popular Music

Vincent Stephens.jpg

Time: March 2, 2020, 3:45 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Location: Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, 114 Bird

Part of the Syracuse Symposium

Part of the Syracuse Symposium series.

Vincent Stephens (Dickinson College)

American audiences of the 1950s regularly consumed gender transgressions in popular media well before they were aware of LGTBQ identities, communities, or politics. “Visibly Hidden” examines how the public personae of four popular male musicians of the era, Johnnie Ray, Little Richard, Johnny Mathis and Liberace, deftly expanded the boundaries of male gender expression before the emergence of queer visibility politics.

Stephens talk draws from his forthcoming 2019 book, Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music (University of Illinois Press). Stephens is currently Director of the Popel Shaw Center for Race and Diversity, and a contributing faculty member in the Department of Music, at Dickinson College. He has published widely in the Humanities, on topics ranging from hip hop and gender, and the aesthetics of vocal jazz and pop to the politics of sexual disclosure in popular music. Stephens was also a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Syracuse University (2006–2010).

Additional supporters:

  • Art and Music Histories
  • Communications and Rhetorical Studies
  • Goldring Arts Journalism
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Women and Gender Studies

Theo Cateforis, Art and Music Histories