Curran Nault is a scholar of grassroots queer trans*media artivism. His intersectional work brings queer, feminist, trans and critical race theories—and the possibilities they conjure—to bear on the cultural artifacts, practices and politics of D.I.Y. QT(POC) creatives. His scholarship has been published in such journals as Jump Cut, Feminist Media Studies, and the Journal of Film and Video, and has been anthologized in several collections, including Mediated Girlhoods, Queer Love in Film and Television and the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Queer Cinema. In addition to being an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radio-Television-Film, Curran is a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies and the Center for Asian American Studies.
Curran’s first book, Queercore: Queer Punk Media Subculture (Routledge, 2018) considers the histories, politics, and practices of queercore: a queer punk trans*media scene that surfaced in the 1980s as a dual response to the decade’s rise in anti-QT(POC) violence and the mainstreaming of “respectable” gays and lesbians via emerging politics of marriage and the military. A formative text on grassroots queer artivism, Queercore employs ethnographic methods and queer/media theory insights to establish the oppositional values and aesthetics central to queercore’s subcultural distinction, as well as its paradigmatic DIY political economy, asserting an alternative model to a corporatized gaystream. Alluding to its collegiate utility, media scholar Gary Needham has praised Queercore as, “a solid piece of scholarship and a highly engaging, readable book. It brings queer theory back to the cutting edge by reminding us of the inherently political and radical aspects of queerness. As a methodology, it is a very useful case study in ‘how to do queer’ that demonstrates there is still a good deal of intellectual, radical life in queerness.”
Currently, Curran is developing a new project on the performative “space of death” within contemporary QT(POC) creations (tentatively titled D.I.Y. Death). Building upon recent queer/trans, necropolitical and post-colonial theories (and their intersections), this project theorizes a node of resistant potentiality: the intentional, hauntological inhabitation of spectral subjectivity within queer and trans D.I.Y. artivism—from the die-ins of ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) to the mediated performance art of M. Lamar (NegroGothic) and Moor Mother (Fetish Bones), who (re-)animate the afterlives of racial and sexual trauma in their oppositional output. In so doing, I delineate a death-defying thesis: deploying necro-subjectivity, or performatively populating the “space of death,” today’s DIY queer creatives unearth what’s at stake for bodies and communities that continue to be consigned to the coffin.
Curran’s latest project arose in tandem with his role as co-producer of the Guggenheim-funded documentary, Call Her Ganda (Raval, 2018), which chronicles the case of Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman who was murdered by a U.S. marine. Call Her Ganda has won many “Best Documentary” awards (Outfest, LA Asian, Sidewalk), landed onIndiewire’s “Best of Year” list, enjoyed an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release, been nominated for “Outstanding Documentary” at the GLAAD Awards, and was screened for the US State Department with the aim of mobilizing policy change. Additionally, Curran co-produced the gay senior citizen documentary, Before You Know It (Raval, 2013; SXSW) and was an expert interviewee in ART Heart: Children of Riot Grrrl (Chan, 2019).
Also integral to Curran’s public-facing practice and research is OUTsider, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that he founded in 2013 to stage and support the artistry of disenfranchised creatives. Through OUTsider’s annual five-day festival and academic conference, Curran has introduced Austin to such luminaries as Zackary Drucker (Transparent), Silas Howard (Pose), Cassils (Carving) and Xandra Ibarra (La Chica Boom. Now a nationally recognized event with several hundred annual attendees, in 2018 OUTsider was nominated by the Austin Critics Table as Austin’s “Best Independent Arts Project.” Curran also serves on the Board of Directors of Fantastic Fest and is the Co-Founder, and former Director of Programming, of the Austin Asian American Film Festival.