Registered: Homelessness, Sex Offense, and Carceral Sexuality


ACLS Fellowship Program


Black Studies


Twentieth and twenty-first century wars on sex and moral panics have frequently mobilized the figure of the sex offender to garner public support for punitive approaches to dealing with sexual violence. This support led to the creation, proliferation, and expansion of sex offender registries across the US. Being on the state-managed sex offender registry impacts one’s access to housing, employment, and community support. Who registers—legally and in the popular imagination—as a sex offender is a deeply racialized process, as the rise of the sex offender registry intertwined with longer histories of policing sexuality, particularly Black sexuality. As an interdisciplinary project, "Registered: Homelessness, Sex Offense, and Carceral Sexuality" places scholarship on sex offenders in conversation with scholarship on homelessness by centering the lives of Black people who are homeless or transient and register as a sex offender. It follows the sex offender through the law, mapping how the category gets produced historically as a legal and racialized cultural category, through local and national discourses about transgender men and women, through the shelter and homeless geographies, in the creation of victim compensation boards, and in the alternative modes of archive-making Black sex offenders practice as a way to refashion themselves.