C. Riley Snorton

C. Riley Snorton
  • Department of English
  • Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
CSGS 305

C. Riley Snorton, Professor of English Language and Literature, joins the department and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies, in which he is in residence. Snorton is a cultural theorist who analyzes representations of race and gender throughout history. He is the author of Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction and an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in Nonfiction. The book has also been recognized by the Organization of American Historians and the Institute for Humanities Research.

Snorton’s next monograph, tentatively titled Mud: Ecologies of Racial Meaning examines the constitutive presence of swamps to racial practices and formations in the Americas. Currently, he is coediting Saturation: Racial Matter, Institutional Limits and the Excesses of Representation (New Museum / MIT, forthcoming) and The Flesh of the Matter: A Hortense Spillers Reader (forthcoming). He has also coedited several special issues of journals, including “Blackness” for Transgender Studies Quarterly (2017), “The Queerness of Hip Hop / the Hip Hop of Queerness” for Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International (2013), and “Media Reform” for the International Journal of Communication.

Snorton has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Pomona College, and two fellowships at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication with graduate certificates in Africana studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies.


2018-2019 Courses: Winter 2019, Bodies of Transformation (graduate)

Selected Publications

  • Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).
  • Gender Trouble on Triton. In No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies. Ed. E. Patrick Johnson. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016): 105–123.
  • Nobody is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).
  • On the Question of “Who’s Out in Hip Hop.” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, 16.3 -4 (2014): 283-302.
  • “A New Hope”: The Psychic Life of Passing. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 24.3 (2009): 77-92.


    Ph.D.,University of Pennsylvania, 2010. Teaching at Chicago since 2018.