“To Work Black Magic”: Richard Bruce Nugent's Queer Anti-fascist Insurrection

OCT 11, 2019 | 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


October 11, 2019: 4:00 PM




In this talk, PhD candidate Ryan Tracy will explore how Richard Bruce Nugent’s (1906-1987) refusal to give up homoerotic decadence in his literature and visual artwork posed critical problems for the “New Negro” Renaissance’s project of creating urgently needed representations of black masculinity. Nugent’s little-known short story from 1937, “Pope Pius the Only,” is no exception. As a response to Italy’s invasion of the sovereign African kingdom of Ethiopia in 1935, as well as to the ongoing lynching crisis in Jim Crow America, Nugent’s psychedelic story telescopes the global and historical scale of white supremacy, while insisting that a desire for “Latin” men and Roman culture can be part of the labor of black liberation.