Department of History

Clayton Finn

  • Graduate Student

Before starting at Pitt in Fall 2018, I completed a BA in African American Studies and an MA in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton. My research explores the intersections of culture, race, and identity with specific focus on notions of gender and sexuality in African American respectability politics of the early twentieth century. I am interested in the impact of elites’ standards of gender, sexuality, and racial uplift theory on Black people's lives and their participation in political activism. I also am interested in the transnational connotations and usage of the N-word across the African Diaspora.

Advisor: Keisha N. Blain


Representative Publications

“The Price of a Sexual Politics of Respectability: W. E. B. Du Bois, Racial Uplift, and the Harlem Renaissance,” American Papers [CSUF Journal of Student Writing], May 2018

“The ‘N-Word’: Finding Clarity in a Redundant Debate (Part II),” Co-authored with Dr. Tyler D. Parry, Guest Post with the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, July 2016.

“The ‘N-Word’: Finding Clarity in a Redundant Debate (Part I),” Co-authored with Dr. Tyler D. Parry, Guest Post with the African American Intellectual History Society, July 2016.

Conference Presentations:

“Curating Blackness: Images of Respectability and Turn-of-the-Century Visual Culture,” Western Association of Women Historians Conference, University of California, Davis, April 2018

“Queer Activism in the Early 20th Century NAACP: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Sexual Politics of Respectability,” This Is Not Your Grandfather's Black Studies: Centering Pleasure and Anti-Respectability as Methodology, University of Missouri, October 2017

Invited Research Presentations:

“Limitations and Possibilities in Researching the N-Word,” Co-presented with Dr. Tyler D. Parry, Langston Hughes Center, University of Kansas, October 2016