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This talk analyzes Senate Document 241 which formerly began the persecution of gays and lesbians as part of the McCarthy period. The talk does so to demonstrate how that document and the resulting Lavender Scare planted the seeds of the U.S. government’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) and the surveillance strategies that characterized the U.S.’s response to the attacks of September 11th. The talk argues that understanding the Lavender Scare means situating it alongside the persecution of activists of color, immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and Arab Americans from the Cold War and onward.  


Roderick Ferguson is Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and American Studies at Yale University. He was previously professor of African American and Gender and Women's Studies in the African American Studies Department at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His scholarship includes work on African-American literature, queer theory and queer studies, classical and contemporary social theory.



  • Jillian Harris
  • Jennifer Esparza
  • Antoinette Denapoli
  • Jasmine Durrant

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