Book Talk: Work! A Queer History of Modeling

Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm

This is a past event.

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
909 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007

USC-LACMA History of Photography Seminar

Book Talk: Work! A Queer History of Modeling 

Thursday, January 30

7:00-8:30pm; reception to follow

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Elspeth H. Brown, Professor of History, University of Toronto

Respondent: Alexis Bard Johnson, Curator, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries

Introduction: Jeanne Vaccaro, Postdoctoral Fellow, ONE Archives

Work! traces the queer history of modeling from the rise of photographic modeling in the early 20th century to the rise of the supermodel in the early 1980s. The book charts how models have been central to the creation of a new type of sexuality in 20th century America: a commercialized form of sanitized sexuality, managed for public consumption. The book shows how the modeling industry has been shaped by queer sensibilities since its origins, and how black models-- in their very insistence on black glamour—have challenged whitestream hegemony. Work! shows how the modeling industry always has been the site of a queer structure of feeling, but one that has also always been tied to the market. In this way, Work! queers the history of capitalism. 

Co-sponsored by ONE Archives

Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


Other Location

History, Visual Studies Research Institute (VSRI)
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