2019-2020: Advancing Equity Through Research Fellow
Mireille Miller-Young is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In residence as an Advancing Equity Through Research Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year, Miller-Young will be at work on Ho: Hustling, Hypersexuality, and the Erotics of Race.
Engaging feminist humanistic methodologies in visual textual analysis, oral history, ethnography, and historical archival research, this project analyzes the representation and labor of black women engaging in forms of hustling, hypersexuality, and sex work. Centering the question of how black women interrogate and rework damaging archetypes like the Ho, this project theorizes from below, focusing on multiply marginalized black cis women and transwomen involved in stigmatized and criminalized forms of erotic engagement, relation, and survival. Ho theory seeks to understand not only how “Hoes” put hypersexuality to work, but how they create theoretical interventions in gender and sex, which are essential in rethinking the impact of neoliberal structures of economic inequality on black working-class women’s lives, and whether our contemporary movements for social justice are really responding to the needs of the most vulnerable on the ground. Finally, Hoes, hustling, and even pimping, have been critical, if understudied, lenses to view modern black social relations. What can we learn about the strategies, aspirations, and freedom dreams—the critical black feminist work—of black sex workers, and others left outside of normative community frames, about the stakes of sexual exploitation and erotic self-making?