Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Adrienne Adams (they/them) is a blaxican oral historian, public programmer, and 4th year Ph.D. student in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Their dissertation, tentatively titled Black Obsolescence, is a media archaeology and cultural studies project that brings together histories of mundane technologies & media– VHS/beta tapes, the xerox machine, the handheld recorder, and public broadcast television–with black diasporic queer & trans vernacular practices between the 1980s & early 2000s. In doing so, they seek to theorize what obsolescence and use means in light of technologies deemed out of fashion & blackness’ interminable availability/violation under modernity. 

Most recently, they earned funds from the USC Provost Office to organize a 40th anniversary symposium for the late Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground at the Academy Museum & California African Art Museum. They have also consulted for the Guggenheim Museums, Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Emotional Wellness for First Responders LCC, and House of AWT. Prior to entering USC, they served as the 2018-20 Ford Foundation-Walton Family Foundation Fellow at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Adams’ work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Point Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, among others. Their publications appear or are forthcoming in GLQ: Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, American Quarterly, the Oxford African American Studies Center, and Spit & Spider Press. They have spoken at national and international venues including the London Metropolitan Archives, 198 Contemporary Art in London, University of Manchester, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Tom of Finland Foundation, and Broad Art Museum.



  • B.A. , Occidental College, 5/2017
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Afro-Mexico, Black Aesthetics, Caribbean Cultural Studies, Feminist Technoscience, Histories of Technology, Racial Capitalism, Queer and Trans Studies