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Ricardo Millhouse

Second-year PhD, Gender Studies, School of Social Transformation

I’m Ricardo Millhouse, a second-year PhD student in the Department of Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation. Although I was born on the Gulf Coast, I have lived everywhere from Chicago, to Minneapolis, to Brooklyn, which made me interested in space and interrogating the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. This made me deeply appreciate geography and gender studies. To most people, geography is a subject where you simply study state capitals and learn the names and locations of oceans. Yet geography is more complex than just state capitals.

As a first-generation college student and the recipient of the Doctoral Enrichment Fellowship, I knew that my retention depended on outside funding sources. This is why I worked tirelessly to be considered for fellowships and scholarships in my undergraduate and master’s degrees, and now my PhD. In the storyboard below, you will see what is possible when a student such as myself receives support to pursue their dreams.

This is the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn where I have been conducting fieldwork this summer observing and researching neighborhood transformation. I also conducted interviews to gain an understanding of the ways in which urban restructuring has impacted the community, as well as subjecthood/personhood maintenance and formation.

Barry Jenkins, the director of ‘Moonlight,” penned the screenplay, “If Beale Street Could Talk” in the same summer as ‘Moonlight’—2013. Production on the film started in October 2017 and it set to be released in 2018. While in Philadelphia in December, I visited Giovanni’s Room—a bookstore—the oldest LGBTQ and feminist bookstores in the country—and bought James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk to re-read the riveting masterpiece to make sure I understand the context/background of the novel prior to viewing the drama film.


I traveled to Medellin, Colombia for preliminary research on queer geographies. During Medellin Pride, a well-known drum circle collective performed and highlighted the issue of reproductive injustice and LGBTQ rights in Colombia. Each of their drums are decorated with prominent feminists (Angela Davis is shown on the drum in the center).

Ricardo Millhouse, Medellin Pride in Columbia

I had the pleasure of sharing space with Dr. Elora Halim Chowdhury. She is an associate professor and chair of women’s and gender studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She discussed the state of the field of women’s and gender studies from the perspective of a student, faculty member, and an administrator. She closed her talk by stating that we, as scholars, should “ask critical questions as the ground moves below your feet. While the earth moves under your feet.”


Honored to be speaking at the University of California, Los Angeles, to discuss the implications of social media on qualitative research. My presentation was well-received and generated a lot of discussion about queering cyberspace.

Ricardo Millhouse at UCLA

When asked to attend an LGBT culture and arts festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I did not hesitate to think about my decision to go. The festival brought together many LGBT change agents to discuss various topics that are pertinent to the LGBT community ranging from HIV/AIDS prevention, social media, self-care, to coalition building in urban spaces.

Ricardo Millhouse Puerto Rico

This picture was taken in downtown Brooklyn in front of Flatbush Avenue, where there is substantial development occurring. As a result of the influx of corporations, there has been a significant urban influx and exodus of New Yorkers with various intersectional identities. In addition, the urban restructuring that is occurring in downtown Brooklyn, specifically, is closing small, well-known businesses that have been a historical element in Brooklyn’s landscape.


Philadelphia’s premier LGBTQ and feminist bookstore is home to Philly AIDS Thrift. Not only are proceeds allocated to local AIDS organizations in the Philadelphia area, but the bookstore serves as a drop-in HIV testing center. The services are made possible by five organization: Action AIDS, Bebashi, GALAEI, Mazzoni Center, and Philadelphia Fight (all local!).

Books from School of Social Transformation

The Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) hosted the annual Humanities Faculty Authors Reception on October 18th. The event featured the work of humanities faculty authors from several departments across ASU. Pictured here are some publications from the School of Social Transformation. The event also turned the spotlight on Charles T. Lee, author of Ingenious Citizenship: Recrafting Democracy for Social Change and winner of the 2017 IHR Transdisciplinary Book Award.

Ricardo Millhouse Mellon Mays Summer Conference

I attended the 2017 Mellon Mays Summer Conference; the flagship component of the Social Science Research Council at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. It is a forum for skills exchange and the development of professional proficiencies such as maximizing research resources. I attended the rich presentation on James Baldwin and Charles Mills by Paul Cato (University of Chicago). Cato discussed ways in which Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and No Name in the Street serve as critical works of philosophies of race. They function as excellent counterparts to Mills’ insofar as they are read using structural and interpersonal perspectives on the issue of racial injustice.


After a long, insightful semester, I am able to synthesize my ideas and make connections to my own research interests by writing a paper that is not only thoughtful, but pushes boundaries.


Pictured here is the poster for a panel discussion and art exhibit that I attended that aimed to address the evolving meanings and significance of reproductive health and medicine within Arizona. The panelists discussed various methodologies such as historical narratives that can educate the public about human reproduction and Arizona’s history of reproductive health and medicine.

Pictured here is a slate of texts that I am using to write a paper on Black queer spatiality. The paper considers theory and praxis in Black geographies to think through the concomitant way capital displaces Black queer spaces and corresponding embodiments. This paper will be presented at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in the spring.

ASU Ricardo Millhouse books

This event schedule shows the title and panel of my presentation at UCLA. Although my nerves were through the roof, I knew that the level of preparation that I had done with the help of my graduate scholarship will be recognized.

UCLA event schedule

We are very cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are and we cannot possibly become what we would like to be until we are willing to ask ourselves just why the lives we lead on this continent are mainly so empty, so tame, and so ugly."

—James Baldwin from The Cross of Redemption

Happy to be in the company of community members who utilize different art forms such as dance to generate discussion centered on cultural authenticity, collective transformative change, and identity. This event, held at the Phoenix Center for the Arts, was invigorating and inspirational, such that it enabled me to incorporate different art forms in my research.

Phoenix music event

Towards the end of the fall semester, I had the opportunity to attend (and discuss) a play titled, Death Boogie. The play was written and performed by Darian Dauchan, directed by Jennifer McGrath with live violin and double bass accompaniment by MattViolinist and Desmond Bratton. The play sparked conversation regarding capitalism, militarization, gender, and music.



Pictured here is the brochure for the State of the Field Conference. The conference served as a platform for graduate students to discuss their research, professionalization, and network with established professors in the field. I presented a paper related to spatialities and temporalities where I use the film Tangerine to discuss queer safety, navigation, and joy.

The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in."

—James Baldwin from Nobody Knows My Name