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C. Riley Snorton

Associate Professor

Triphammer Rd, 310, Africana Ctr, Room 108


C. Riley Snorton earned his Ph.D. in Communication and Culture, with graduate certificates in Africana Studies and Gender & Sexuality Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. He is a recipient of a predoctoral fellowship at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University (2009), a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Pomona College (2010) and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (2015).

Snorton's research and teaching expertise include cultural theory, queer and transgender theory and history, Africana studies, performance studies, and popular culture. He has published articles in the Black Scholar, the International Journal of Communication, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society. Snorton's first book, Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), traces the emergence and circulation of the down low in news and popular culture. He has also been listed as one of "Ten Transgender People You Should Know" by BET.


  • Africana Studies and Research Center

Graduate Fields

  • Africana Studies
  • Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies
  • Theatre Arts


Professor Snorton is currently completing his second book, tentatively titled Black on Both Sides: Race and the Remaking of Trans History, which explores the transitive and transversal relationships between blackness and transness in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

He is also a co-editor of several special issues for journals, including “Media Reform” in the International Journal of Communication, “The Queerness of Hip Hop/ The Hip Hop of Queerness” in Palimpsest, and “Blackness” in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.

He is currently co-editing an anthology on the works of Hortense Spillers, tentatively titled The Flesh of the Matter: A Hortense Spillers Reader.



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.

Trans necropolitics: A transnational reflection on violence, death, and the trans of color afterlife. Co-authored with Jin Haritaworn in the Transgender Studies Reader, 2nd Edition. Eds. Susan Stryker and Aren Aizura. (New York: Routledge, 2013): 66-76.

‘A New Hope’: The Psychic Life of Passing. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 24.3 (2009): 77-92.