Rachel Lewis earned a Ph.D. from Cornell University and is an Assistant Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Program at George Mason University. Prior to joining George Mason, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Transnational Sexualities in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Connecticut. Her research and teaching interests include transnational feminisms, queer theory, media and cultural studies, sexuality, race and immigration, human rights, transnational sexualities, and feminist and queer disability studies. She is currently working on two book-length manuscripts, both of which explore the relationship between queer media and lesbian human rights activism. Integrating visual and textual criticism with an analysis of the legal discourses that underwrite lesbian claims for asylum and refugee status, Deportable Subjects: Lesbians and the Political Asylum Process examines the political asylum system as a site for the production of lesbian human rights narratives. Through an analysis of contemporary cultural advocacy pertaining to lesbian asylum—including films, theatre and performance art, and online activism—this project considers how queer female migrants are turning towards media and cultural productions as a way of resisting deportation. Her second book project, tentatively titled, Queer Intimacies: Visualizing Black Lesbian Desire in Post-Apartheid South Africa, examines media and cultural advocacy produced by lesbian, intersex, and transgender rights activists that is emerging to contest dominant representations of black queer vulnerability in South Africa. She has published articles in Sexualities, Feminist Formations, Social Justice, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Journal of Lesbian Studies, Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, and Music & Letters.
Co-editor with Wendy S. Hesford, “Mobilizing Vulnerability: New Directions in Transnational Feminist Studies and Human Rights.” Special issue of Feminist Formations, forthcoming, 2016.
With Nancy A. Naples, “Introduction: Queer Migration, Asylum, and Displacement,” Sexualities 17/8 (2014): 911-918. Special issue guest edited by Rachel Lewis and Nancy A. Naples, “Queer Migration, Asylum, and Displacement.”
“‘Gay? Prove It’: The Politics of Queer Anti-Deportation Activism,” Sexualities 17/8 (2014): 958-975. Special issue guest edited by Rachel Lewis and Nancy A. Naples, “Queer Migration, Asylum, and Displacement.”
“Deportable Subjects: Lesbians and Political Asylum,” Feminist Formations 25/2 (2013): 173-193. Special issue, “Feminists Interrogate States of Emergency.”
“Towards a Transnational Lesbian Cinema,” Journal of Lesbian Studies 16/3 (2012): 273-290. Special issue, “Global Lesbian Cinema.”
“Lesbians under Surveillance: Same-Sex Immigration Reform, Gay Rights, and the Problem of Queer Liberalism,” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order 37/1 (2010):90-106. Special issue, “Sexuality, Criminalization and Social Control.”
“The Cultural Politics of Lesbian Asylum: Angelina Maccarone’s Unveiled (2005) and the Case of the Lesbian Asylum-Seeker,” International Feminist Journal of Politics 12/3-4 (2010): 424-443. Special issue, “New Directions in Feminism and Human Rights.”
“What’s Queer about Musicology Now?” Introduction to the Queer Vibrations special issue of Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 13 (2009): 43-53.
Ph.D. from Cornell University