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Soares to present annual Coley Lecture in LGBT Studies

Alan Flurry

Kristie Soares, assistant professor of women and gender studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, will deliver the 27th annual Andrea Carson Coley Lecture in LGBT Studies at the University of Georgia on April 23 at 12:30 p.m.

The lecture, “Dancing with Death: Celia Cruz’s Azúcar and Queer of Color Survival” will take place virtually on Zoom. It is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register here.

Soares will explore the evolution of salsa artist and queer icon Celia Cruz’s signature catchphrase “azúcar [sugar].” She will trace azúcar from Cruz’s early career with Fania Records, to her later music with Sony Music, and finally to its posthumous adoption by queer fans of color both at her funeral and in the aftermath of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre. In doing so, the talk will argue that azúcar represented an embodied way to negotiate the patriarchal norms of the artist’s record labels, a mode of pushing back against the aspirational whiteness and heteronormativity of the Cuban community, and a model for queer of color survival in a murderous world.

Soares’ scholarship focuses on 19th to 21st century Latinx literature and media, with a specialization in queer Caribbean cultural production. Both her performance work and her research explore queerness in Caribbean and Latinx communities. Her current book manuscript, Joyful Protest: The Political Work of Positive Affect in Latinx Cultural Production, examines the use of affects traditionally coded as “positive” in Cuban and Puerto Rican diasporic cultural production from the 1960s to the present to argue that while they are often disregarded as frivolous and apolitical, positive affects have, at times, been central to sociopolitical critique. Her work has been published in Frontiers, Letras Femeninas, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Remezcla and The Los Angeles Review of Books.

The Coley Lecture, hosted by the Institute for Women’s Studies, has been an important spring tradition on campus for more than a quarter century. The lecture was endowed through a donation from Andrew and Kathy Coley in memory of their daughter, Andrea Carson Coley (1972-1993), who was a certificate candidate in women’s studies. Then Franklin College extends a warm virtual welcome to this year's speaker, Dr. Soares.

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