Department of Women and Gender Studies The College of Art and Humanities

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Nan Alamilla Boyd

Women and Gender Studies Department
San Francisco State University

Nan Alamilla Boyd


Nan Alamilla Boyd (B.A., History, UC Berkeley; M.A. and Ph.D., American Civilization, Brown University) is Professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University. She teaches courses in the history of sexuality, queer theory, historical methodology, and urban tourism. She has published reviews and articles in Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Radical History Review, English Language Notes, Women’s Review of Books, Signs, Frontiers, Gender & Society, Denver University Law Review, and Radical Philosophy Review.  Her book, Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965(University of California Press, 2003), charts the rise of gay and lesbian politics in San Francisco and draws from the 45 oral histories she conducted as part of her research. Her second book,Bodies of Evidence, the Practice of Queer Oral HIstory (Oxford, 2012), co-edited with Horacio N. Roque Ramírez, pairs fourteen oral history excerpts alongside commentaries by oral historians.  Nan has also been a long-time volunteer at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.  She founded the Historical Society’s oral history project in 1992, served as co-chair of the Archives Committee from 2004-2008, and served two terms on the Board of Directors.  She is currently at work on a third book project, a history of tourism in San Francisco that explores the neoliberal commodification of racialized and sexualized neighborhoods.

Teaching at SFSU

Selected Publications


Nan Alamilla Boyd and Horacio N. Roque Ramírez, eds. Bodies of Evidence: The Practice of Queer Oral History (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Bodies of Evidence: The Practice of Queer Oral History

Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 (University of California Press, 2003).

Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965


"San Francisco's Castro District: From Gay Liberation to Tourist Destination," Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 9:3 (September 2011) 228-239.

"Sex, Race, and Tourism: The Making of San Francisco's Queer Urban Scene," in Amy Scott and Kathy Brosnan, eds., City Dreams, Country Schemes: Community and Identity in the Twentieth-Century American West (University of Nevada Press, 2011).

"Who is the Subject? Queer Theory Meets Oral History," Journal of the History of Sexuality 17:2 (May 2008) 177-189.

"Sex and Tourism: The Economic Implications of Gay Marriage Movement," Radical History Review 100 (Winter 2008) 223-250.

"What Does Queer Studies Offer Women's Studies?: The Problem and Promise of Instability," in Elizabeth L. Kennedy, ed., Women's Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005) 97-108.

"Same-Sex Sexuality in Western Women's History," Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies 22:3 (2001) 11-21.

"Policing Queers: San Francisco's History of Repression and Resistance," Radical Philosophy Review 3:1 (2000) 20-27.

"The Materiality of Gender: Looking for Lesbian Bodies in Transgender History," Journal of Lesbian Studies 3:3 (1999). Reprinted in Lesbian Sex Scandals: Sexual Practices, Identities, and Politics, Dawn Atkins, ed. (New York: Harrington Park Press, 1999) 73-80.

"Shopping for Rights: Gays, Lesbians, and Visibility Politics," Denver University Law Review 75:4 (Fall 1998) 1361-1373.

"Bodies in Motion: Lesbian and Transsexual Histories," A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, Martin Duberman, ed. (New York: New York University Press, 1997) 134-152. Reprinted in Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle, eds., The Transgender Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 2006) 420-433; Vicki L. Ruiz ed., Unequal Sisters,4th edition (New York: Routledge, 2007) 15-28.

"'Homos Invade S.F.!': San Francisco's History as a Wide Open Town," Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community Histories, Brett Beemyn, ed. (New York: Routledge, 1997) 73-95.

Media Presentations

"Out in the Bay." Interview with Marilyn Pittman, KALW Public Radio (91.7 FM, San Francisco), aired July 31, 2008

"Gay Los Angeles vs. Gay San Francisco." Panel discussion, Zócalo Radio, KPCC (89.3 FM, Los Angeles), aired July 27, 2008. Also aired on Los Angeles public television, Channel 36, July 2008.

"Why San Francisco?" Radio interview broadcast on Weekend America, National Public Radio (KBEZ, Chicago), aired June 23, 2007.

Interview with Nan Alamilla Boyd and Susan Stryker, discussing "Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria," KPFA Radio (94.1 FM, Berkeley, CA), aired live June 16, 2007 (

Interview about the legalization of same-sex marriage in San Francisco on News 50 (KFTY, Sonoma County), aired live March 4, 2004.

"Morning Show." Interview with Henry Tenenbaum, discussing the publication of Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965, News 4 (KRON, San Francisco), aired live July 2003.

Academic Presentations and Public Talks (2010-2012)

"Talking About Sex" at a panel on Queer Oral History Methods at the American Historical Association meetings, Chicago, IL, January 5-8, 2012.

"Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy's Interdisciplinary, Queer Career" at the American Studies Association meetings, Baltimore, MD, October 20-23, 2011.

"Cashing In: Sex, Race, and Tourism in San Francisco" at a panel entitled Sex, Race, and Migration in the U.S. West at the Western History Association Annual Conference, Oakland, CA, October 13-16, 2011.

"What's So Gay about San Francisco?" invited guest lecture at Santa Clara University, October 11, 2011.

"Lesbian Generations," a roundtable at the Berkshire Women's History Conference, Amherst, MA, June 9-12, 2011.

"San Francisco's Castro: Gay Liberation to Tourist Destination" at Tourism Imaginaries/ Imaginaires Touristique, Conference, Université Paris, Sorbonne, and UC Berkeley, February 18-20, 2011.

"Liz Kennedy: Lesbian/Queer Oral History Pioneer" on a panel entitled Women's Studies Legacies and Futures: A Tribute to the Work of Elizabeth Kennedy at the National Women's Studies Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 10-14, 2010.

Participant on a panel entitled "When Monarchs Meet Queens" as part of Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City series at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 17, 2010.

Participant on a panel entitled "From Free Love to Folsom Street" at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), 564 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, June 22, 2010.

Commentator on a panel entitled Lesbian and Gay Publications and the Instruction of Sexuality in Post-Stonewall America at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meetings, Washington DC, Apr 7-10, 2010.

"Cashing In: Race, Sex, and Tourism in San Francisco," at a seminar entitled Queer Commodity Cultures at the Cultural Studies Association meetings, UC Berkeley, Mar 20, 2010.

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