Julian Carter

Julian Carter profile image

Julian Carter is a performance theorist, dancer, and queer historian whose research and teaching focus on embodiment, normativity, and power. As Principle Instigator of the social sculpture collective PolySensorium, he helps create embodied experiential workshops at academic conferences. He is also chair of the Program in Critical Studies.

His current ongoing work, the Transgenderational Touch Project, facilitates cultural transfer and continuity across queer/trans generations. Parts of this project are documented in his illustrated chapbook "Sex Time Machine (for touching the trancestors)," available during Fall 2017 at the GLBT Museum in San Francisco as part of their ongoing show OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer (up through Jan 2018). He's also working on illustrations for his essay on postcolonial performances of the ultra-white 1905 ballet "The Dying Swan" (forthcoming in TDR: The Drama Review). That essay is part of a book in process on desire and domination in swan ballets.

Carter's earlier publications include The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1890–1940 (Duke University Press, 2007). The book uses sex advice writing and other vintage pop-cultural sources to show how the concept of “normality” combines ideas about heterosexuality and whiteness in a way that makes it difficult for white, straight people to perceive the specificity of their subject-positions. His LGBTQ history publications include essays on 1960s lesbian pulp fiction and the politics of disidentification; the racial imaginary of early (1974-1989) gay and lesbian historical writing; and the theoretical as well as social boundaries on lesbian identity from the 1920s to the 1990s, for which he earned a citation in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Perfomance research includes essays on trans- temporality in modern dance and queer re-enactments of Swan Lake. 

Before coming to CCA in 2006, Julian taught at Stanford and New York University. He sits on the advisory board of Hope Mohr Dance Project, the editorial board of the Trans Studies Quarterly and has served on the governing board of the international Committee on LGBT History. 

Associate Professor, Visual and Critical Studies
Associate Professor, Critical Studies
Chair, Critical Studies


AB, Bryn Mawr; MA, PhD, University of California, Irvine