Erin L. Durban is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, affiliated with Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies and American Studies. Their scholarship works at the intersections of interdisciplinary feminist and queer studies, transnational American studies, critical disability studies, and critical ecologies. Durban is currently the Lead Co-Chair of the Association for Queer Anthropology and Co-Chair of Critical Disability Studies at UMN.

Durban is the former managing editor of Feminist Formations (the NWSA Journal) and has published articles and reviews in American AnthropologistWomen & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Feminist Formations, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Transgender Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Haitian Studies, American Ethnologist, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, The Feminist Wire, and Anthropology News.

Durban’s first book, The Sexual Politics of Empire: Postcolonial Homophobia in Haiti (University of Illinois Press 2022), was awarded the National Women’s Studies Association–UIP First Book Prize. It focuses on the gender and sexual politics of French colonialism and American imperialism in Haiti. The Sexual Politics of Empire chronicles contests between two transnational social movements in Haiti—evangelical Christianity and LGBTQI human rights—and Haitian mobilizations of antihomophobic politics.

Durban co-edited a special issue of Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory titled “Nou Mach Ansanm (We Walk Together): Queer Haitian Performance and Affiliation” with Dasha A. Chapman and Mario LaMothe. The special issue followed a symposium at Duke University on gender, sexuality, and performance in Haiti curated by Chapman. It is the first edited collection of scholarship in queer Haitian studies.

Durban has two ongoing research projects. The first, “Plastic Futures: Transnational Engagements with Waste, Recycling, & Toxicity in Haiti,” brings together queer and trans theory, critical disability studies, and black studies to analyze plastic work and how people live everyday lives with plastic in the Anthropocene. The second, "Professorville: The History and Legacy of University Grove," is a collaborative project with Professor Miranda Joseph (GWSS) as well as approximately two dozen undergraduate and graduate students at UMN. The project is an experiment in accessible ethnographic and archival research methods as well as an interdisciplinary study of the university that considers the legacy of building an all-white faculty neighborhood on the UMN St. Paul campus in the 1930s.

Durban will be in residence at the UMN Institute for Advanced Study in fall 2022.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • PhD: , University of Arizona

Specialties

  • Haiti and Haitian Studies
  • Transnational American Studies
  • Queer and Trans* Studies
  • Critical Disability Studies
  • Transnational Feminisms
  • Feminist Studies
  • Critical Ecologies
  • Queer Anthropology