C. Riley Snorton

C. Riley Snorton
CSGS 305
Ph.D.,University of Pennsylvania, 2010
Teaching at UChicago since 2018
Research Interests: Black Studies | Gender and Sexuality Studies | Critical Race Studies| Cultural Studies | Visual Culture and Iconography


C. Riley Snorton, Professor of English Language and Literature, is jointly appointed in the department and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies. Snorton is a cultural theorist who focuses on racial, sexual and transgender histories and cultural productions. 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 John Boswell Prize from the American Historical Association, the William Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction, the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and an honorable mention from the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award Committee. Snorton is also the co-editor of Saturation: Race, Art and the Circulation of Value (MIT Press/New Museum, 2020).


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 The Flesh of the Matter: A Hortense Spillers Reader (forthcoming). He is the co-editor of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies (Duke University Press). 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.

Select Publications

  • Saturation: Race, Art and the Circulation of Value (Cambridge: MIT Press/ New Museum, 2020).
  • 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.