E. Patrick Johnson, Ph.D.
E. Patrick Johnson, Ph.D., is the author of “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South — An Oral History” and “HoneyPot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women."

Queer Research and Advocacy Center convenes its first Q Symposium

Q Collective also is hosting author E. Patrick Johnson in a week filled with a variety of events and activities.

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The Queer Research and Advocacy Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, or Q Collective, will host author E. Patrick Johnson, Ph.D., and convene the first Q Symposium with workshops, talks, presentations, and a film screening from March 28 to April 1.

Johnson, who has distinguished himself as a leader in the African American LGBTQIA+ community through his research and artistry, founded the Black Arts Initiative at Northwestern University where he serves as dean of the School of Communication. He wrote “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South — An Oral History” in 2008 and his process of reconnecting with six men he interviewed for the book is the basis for the prize-winning documentary, “Making Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.”

His visit will include a talk about his latest book, “HoneyPot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women,” and a screening of the “Making Sweet Tea” film.

“Dr. Johnson is a towering figure in the field, and we are fortunate to have him share his work and experience as a scholar, performer and academic leader throughout a variety of settings on campus,” said Maurice Gattis, Ph.D., an associate professor in the VCU School of Social Work and senior adviser for the Q Collective.

Johnson’s latest book tells the real-life stories of queer Black women throughout the American South. He will discuss the book at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, in The Commons Theater.

The book signing event for “HoneyPot” will serve as the kickoff for the inaugural Q Symposium, which is titled “Black. Queer. Love.” The symposium will bring together leaders and scholars across several different departments at VCU and, in a unique closing virtual presentation at noon on Friday, April 1, a series of revolutionary thinkers from around the country in a panel titled, “Boundless: Black Futurity & Worldmaking in the Age of Catastrophe.” This panel was envisioned and curated by Julian Kevon Glover, Ph.D., and is co-sponsored with VCU’s Department of Dance and Choreography

“The inaugural Q Symposium will provide an outlet for rigorous intellectual engagement that centers the lives of members of a vibrant and dynamic community,” Gattis said. “Examining and celebrating Black queer love by including perspectives from a variety of disciplines is in line with VCU’s commitment to inclusive excellence and we look forward to engaging with the campus community during the events.”

“I am thrilled to see these events come to fruition,” said Archana Pathak, Ph.D., interim director of the Q Collective. “They were originally planned for March 2020; and we all know what happened then.” Pathak said that Johnson’s visit and the Q Symposium embody the mission, purpose and goals of the Q Collective. “We are committed to building community through creative and scholarly endeavors that explore the intersectional lives of LGBTQ communities and doing so in ways that are accessible to and honor the members of those communities.”

A complete schedule of Q Symposium events is available on the Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success website.