Evocative essays and interviews that celebrate the expressive possibilities of a world after dark


The mass shooting at a queer Latin Night in Orlando in July 2016 sparked a public conversation about access to pleasure and selfhood within conditions of colonization, violence, and negation. Queer Nightlife joins this conversation by centering queer and trans people of color who apprehend the risky medium of the night to explore, know, and stage their bodies, genders, and sexualities in the face of systemic and social negation. The book focuses on house parties, nightclubs, and bars that offer improvisatory conditions and possibilities for “stranger intimacies,” and that privilege music, dance, and sexual/gender expressions. Queer Nightlife extends the breadth of research on “everynight life” through twenty-five essays and interviews by leading scholars and artists. The book’s four sections move temporally from preparing for the night (how do DJs source their sounds, what does it take to travel there, who promotes nightlife, what do people wear?); to the socialities of nightclubs (how are social dance practices introduced and taught, how is the price for sex negotiated, what styles do people adopt to feel and present as desirable?); to the staging and spectacle of the night (how do drag artists confound and celebrate gender, how are spaces designed to create the sensation of spectacularity, whose bodies become a spectacle already?); and finally, how the night continues beyond the club and after sunrise (what kinds of intimacies and gestures remain, how do we go back to the club after Orlando?).

Kemi Adeyemi is Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at University of Washington.

Kareem Khubchandani is Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor, Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at Tufts University.

Ramón Rivera-Servera is Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

Queer Nightlife captures the complexities of queer sociality, performance, and play at night, within and outside nightclubs… the ethnographic thick description and performative writing leap from the page, placing the reader within these dynamic spaces.”
—Marlon M. Bailey, Arizona State University

- Marlon Bailey

“In the stretch between sunset and sunrise, whole worlds come into being. Queer Nightlife is a major declaration about the experiences that come into being and flourish while most people slumber. Over and over again, the essays collected here insist on queer nightlife as a perpetually emergent performance. Simultaneously local and global, regional and transnational, Queer Nightlife provides new affective maps for the study of nightlife and the writing of desire.”
—Shane Vogel, Ruth N. Halls Professor of English, Indiana University

- Shane Vogel

"The authors utilize an interdisciplinary scholastic approach by including gender and sexual minorities as well as diverse categories of age, race, ethnicity, and sex. They also include an analytic framework that considers how particular non-normative bodies, genders, sexualities, and desires are often subjected to prejudice and discrimination, both within and outside the queer community. Summing Up: Recommended."


"On the one hand, this book celebrates the night and its endless possibilities for pleasure, self-fashioning, community, and participation in public space. On the other hand, it looks at the risks that queer people have to navigate not only in coming out but also in going out, whether it is to a nightclub, house party, cruising spots, fundraiser, gaybourhood, or hook-up date." 
—Chintan Girish Modi, News Nine

- News 9

"From expansive glittering dance halls to the ways cramped bathrooms and dressing rooms become undeniably intimate gatherings, Queer Nightlife journeys through spaces and social landscapes constructed ephemerally and under the cover of night—sites of pleasure, performance, and collective labor by and for LGBTQIA+ individuals navigating systemic marginalization and ongoing social pressure. ...Collectively, Queer Nightlife intentionally centers the voices of queer and trans people of color whose perspectives and labor have been historically underrepresented in academic literature."
The Drama Review (TDR)

- The Drama Review (TDR)

Listen: Editors interviewed on New Books Network | 10/18/2021