University of Minnesota
American Studies

American Studies' Home Page

Fall 2015

Scott Hall 316

Office Hours: Tuesday 10am to 3pm or by appointment

Abram J Lewis

Department Affiliations


I am an American Studies PhD candidate with research interests in queer, feminist, and postcolonial theory, ontology, religion, social movements, and historiography. My dissertation, “The Falling Dream: Unreason and Enchantment in the Gay Liberation Movement” explores non-secular and non-rationalist social change strategies in the 1970s gay liberation movement. This project centers activists' use of paranormal and supernatural entities and forces—such as extraterrestrials, spirits, spells, and psychokinesis—as well as experiments with antirationalist states achieved through drugs, mysticism, sex, and/or psychopathology. I argue that refusing modernist regimes of secular rationality helped expand queer capacities for political thought and action after the onset of post-Civil Rights political retrenchment and subsequent attrition of possibilities for radical social change. My research has been published in Radical History Review and The Scholar and Feminist Online and I have been supported by funding from the University of Minnesota, Cornell University’s Kroch Library, the New York Public Library, and Harvard Divinity School.

Educational Background

  • BA: Women’s and Gender Studies , Columbia University.


  • “I Am 64 and Paul McCartney Doesn’t Care: The Haunting of the Transgender Archive and the Challenges of Queer History,” : Lewis, Abram, Radical History Review, 120 , 2014.
  • “Reclaiming our Lineage: Organized Queer and Trans Resistance to Police Violence”. Lewis, Abram, Che Gossett, Reina Gossett, Co-Author, 2011/2012.


  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2012 - 2013
  • Martin Duberman Visiting Scholars Grant, New York Public Library, 2012
  • Seminar on Debates about Religion and Sexuality participant, Harvard University, 2012
  • Phil Zwickler Memorial Research Grant, Cornell University, 2010
  • Mulford Q. Sibley Graduate Research Fellowship, 2010
  • University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, Graduate Research Partnership Program Fellowship, 2009
  • Graduate School Fellowship, 2008 - 2012
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