This chapter introduces readers to the book’s research questions, interventions, intellectual foundations, and Johnson’s narrators. Here, Johnson explains the personal and intellectual impetuses for creating the work. He discusses how the book uses oral history to demonstrate Black, queer, Southern women’s constructions of their identities and casts storytelling as the primary mode through which his narrators theorize their lives. Most importantly, Johnson argues for the importance of studying sexuality in ways that move beyond identity and, instead, account for the polyvalent nature of desire. Lastly, this part of the book situates Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History as the companion text to Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South.
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