The 2015 Organization of American Historians annual meeting (OAH), takes place April 16-19, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. This year’s conference theme, “Taboos,” has engendered a number of exciting panels, museum displays and a walking tour related to the history of sexuality, which we have listed for our readers below.

PS: Two of our editors, Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman, will be presenting papers at the OAH. If you see them, do say hello.

Museum Displays

Thrill Seekers: The Rise of Men’s Magazines

This exhibit charts the growth of men’s magazines from the 1940s to the 1960s. Drawing from collections in Washington University’s Modern Graphic History Library, this exhibit features artwork of some of the most prominent men’s magazines of the mid-twentieth century, such as Esquire, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune, as well as lesser-known pulp fiction and girlie magazines. Artists featured include Al Parker, Robert Weaver, Ernest Trova, Robert Andrew Parker, and Cliff Condak, among others.

Gateway to History: Selections from the St. Louis LGBT History Project 

This exhibit will tell the story of the Gateway City’s diverse and vibrant queer past through exhibit panels and artifacts that document activism and politics, arts and entertainment, religion, business, famous residents, and everyday life.

Thursday, April 16

 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Taking on Taboos: Queer Organizing from the 1960s to the 1990s

Chair: Jennifer Brier, University of Illinois at Chicago

Commentator: Melissa Stein, University of Kentucky

The Last Crises of James Tinney, 
Kevin Mumford, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Not-So-Discreet Lovers of Emma Jones: Raising Political Consciousness through Beach Parties, 
Jerry Watkins, Georgia State University

Queerly Faithful: Evaluating the Role of Religion in a Local Struggle for LGBT Equality, 
Ian Darnell, University of Illinois at Chicago

Original Plumbing and the Remaking of Trans* Culture and Politics, 
Trevor Joy Sangrey, Washington University in St Louis

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm

Out-of-Bounds: Crossing the Line of Accepted Sexual Practices

Chair: Sharon E. Wood, University of Nebraska Omaha

Commentator: Chad Heap, George Washington University

Taboo at Mizzou: The Policing of Sexual Expression by Students at the University of Missouri, 1945 to 1955, Craig Forrest, University of Missouri–Columbia

“Refugees from Amerika”: The Origins of Gay Liberation in the United States, Kevin Wooten, Washington University in St. Louis

“Against the Peace and Dignity of the State of Kansas”: Community Reactions against Free Love Marriage in the Gilded Age, Andrea Weingartner, Moberly Area Community College

State of the Field: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer History

Chair: Marc Stein
Julio Capó, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Christina Hanhardt, University of Maryland
Kwame Holmes, University of Colorado
Jen Manion, Connecticut College

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Interracial Intimacies: An Online Archives and Methodology Teaching Tool (Poster Session)
Presenter: Elise Chenier, Simon Fraser University

Friday, April 17

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Crime, Violence, and the Whitewashing of Queer History

Chair: Regina Kunzel, Princeton University

Commentator: Kevin Murphy, University of Minnesota

“Woman Slain in Queer Love Brawl”: African American Women and Same-Sex Violence in the Early Great Migration, 
Cookie Woolner, Case Western Reserve University

Jeannace June Freeman: The Making of an Exceptional Lesbian Murder, 
Lauren Gutterman, University of Michigan

Vulnerable Youths and the Complicated Prosecution of Gay Men in the 1930s, 
Daniel Hurewitz, Hunter College, CUNY

The Red Taboo in American History

Chair and Commentator: Tony Michels, University of Wisconsin–Madison

“American Girls in Red Russia”: Rethinking the Red Taboo in U.S. Women’s History, Julia Mickenberg, University of Texas at Austin

“The Reddest of the Blacks”: History across the Full Spectrum of Civil Rights Activism, Glenda Gilmore, Yale University

“TWO Witch Hunts”: On (Not) Seeing Red in The Lavender Scare, Aaron Lecklider, University of Massachusetts, Boston

10:50 am – 12:20 pm

Histories beyond “History”: A Conversation about Interdisciplinary Queer Studies

Chair: Regina G. Kunzel, Princeton University

Deborah Gould, University of California, Santa Cruz
Tavia Nyongo, Tisch School of the Arts
Siobhan Somerville, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Katherine Franke, Columbia University

Illicit Economies and Taboo Trades: Excavating the Politics of Black Female Sexuality in Vaudeville, Pornography, and Prostitution in Twentieth-Century America

Chair: Michele Mitchell, New York University

Commentator: Adrienne Davis, Washington University School of Law

“A Broad and Earthy Clown”: The Bodily Politics of Moms Mabley, Cynthia Blair, University of Illinois at Chicago

Sepia Sex Scenes: Black Women’s Erotic Labor in Early Pornographic Film, Mireille Miller-Young, University of California, Santa Barbara

“That He Would Keep Me For Himself”: Hannah Elias, Illicit Sex, and Interracial Intimacy in Plessy-Era New York, Cheryl Hicks, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

1:50 pm – 3:20 pm

Carroll Smith-Rosenberg’s “Female World of Love and Ritual”: Forty Years Later

Chair: Mary Frances Berry, University of Pennsylvania

The Woman-Loving Mulatta and the Promises of Liberal Universalism: The Political Implications of Sexual Transgression,
 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, University of Michigan

Rituals of Re-Reading: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Women’s History, 
Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia University

The Female Academic’s World of Love and Ritual: Women’s History and Radical Feminism,
 Claire Potter, The New School for Public Engagement

Sex, Signs, and Sensibility: Feminist Institutionalization and Its Discontent, 
Suzanna Walters, Northeastern University

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Social Hour: Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar (1004 Locust Street)


Saturday, April 18

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Sex on the Border: Race, Gender and the Aberrant Migrant Body

Chair and Commentator: Pablo Mitchell, Oberlin College

Performing and Policing Sex along the U.S.–Mexico Border, 1908–1917, Celeste Menchaca, University of Southern California

Borders, Bodies, and Babies: Race, Nation, and Birthing Practices in the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands, 1930–1942, Heather Sinclair, University of Texas at El Paso

“The Mexican Is a Good Spender”: Labor, Leisure, and Consumption in California’s Imperial Valley, 1942–1964, Alina Méndez, University of California, San Diego

10:50 am – 12:20 pm

Queer Archives in the “Show Me” State

Chair: Holly Baggett, Missouri State University

Anne Baker, Missouri State University
Stuart Hinds, University of Missouri–Kansas City
Sharon Smith, Missouri History Museum Library
Steven Brawley, Independent Scholar

Sex, Religion, and Outlaw Teachers: Taboo Topics in the History of American Education

Chair and Commentator: Zoe Burkholder, Montclair State University

Wrongs, Not Rights: American Sex Education in a Global Perspective, Jonathan Zimmerman, New York University

Scopes at Ninety: The Long History of Battles over the Teaching of Evolution in American Biology Classrooms, James Fraser, New York University

Irrational Prejudice: Gay Teachers and the Supreme Court, 1974–1985, Karen Graves, Denison University

11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Walking tour“The Queer History of St. Louis’s Central West End”

1:50 pm – 3:20 pm

Sex, Fitness, and Self-Control: Racial Hierarchies in U.S. Public Health Histories (1890-1995)

Chair and Commentator: Victoria W. Wolcott, University at Buffalo, SUNY

The 1919 Chicago Commission on Race Relations’ Commentary on Sex, Swimming, and the Racial Divide, Elizabeth Schlabach, Earlham College

Bad Blood” and “Good Doctors”: Warnings from the U.S. Public Health Service to African-Americans during WWII, 
Jamie Wagman, Saint Mary’s College

The Strange Career of Jiu-Jitsu: Race, Civilization, and Martial Arts in Turn-of- the-Century American Culture, 
Robert Haulton, University of South Carolina

“Will This Faggot Be Tossed Into the Fire?”: The Politics of the HIV/AIDS Crisis in Black Communities, 1980–1995, Elizabeth Sherouse, University of South Carolina

Sunday, April 19

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Religious and Reproductive Politics in the United States Since WWII

Chair: Sara Dubow, Williams College

Commentators: Sara Dubow, Williams College; Rebecca Davis, University of Delaware

God Bless the Pill? Religion, Oral Contraception, and American Sexuality, 1960–1980, Samira Mehta, American Council of Learned Societies/Museum of Jewish Heritage

Jewish Women’s Organizations and the Politics of Reproduction, 1970–1992, Rachel Kranson, University of Pittsburgh

Reproductive Rights, Faith, and the Clergy Consultation Service, 1967–1973, Gillian Frank, Princeton University

10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Marriage on the Margins: Contested Romance and the Limits of Spousal Legitimacy

Chair: Renee Romano, Oberlin College

Commentator: Elizabeth H. Pleck, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Taboo on Cousin Marriage in the History of America and in American History, 
Susan McKinnon, University of Virginia

Social Reformers and the Racialization of American Child Marriage at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, 
Nicholas Syrett, University of Northern Colorado

I Am My Own Stepfather: Stepparent-Stepchild Marriage in American Law and Media, 1890–1920, 
William Kuby, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

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