Prof. Tristan Cabello is the Director of the American Studies Program at American University, DC.

Historian. Scholar. Digital Humanist

Tristan Cabello was born in Paris. After earning his BA and MA in American Studies from the Université Marc Bloch (Strasbourg, France), he received his MA and PhD in U.S. History from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).

Tristan Cabello is a scholar of African American history. His research focuses on sexuality and popular culture.

His first monograph, Queer Bronzeville: Race, Sexuality and Culture in Black Chicago, 1920-1985, explores the history of black gays and lesbians on Chicago’s South Side from the end of the Great Migration to the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

Tristan published his research in academic journals and mainstream publications. His peer-reviewed articles appeared in the anthologies Dissent and Plural Identities and Gender and Sexuality. He also wrote for the Encyclopedia of American Reform Movements, the International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, and the Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture. His book reviews appeared in the Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History NewsletterHistory: Books in Reviews and the African American Review. He also published public history articles for the Windy City Times and the Huffington Post.

Tristan presented his research at national and international meetings of academic organizations [the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the Collegium for African American Research (CAAR), the Social Science History Association (SSHA) and Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA)], various universities centers [The Center for Race Studies at Rutgers University, the Humanities Center at DePaul University and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York] and public venues (The Center on Halsted and the Gerber/Hart library in Chicago).

Tristan Cabello’s research was funded by the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies (CUNY, New York City) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Tristan is also a digital humanist. Queer Bronzeville: The History of African American Gays and Lesbians on Chicago’s South Side, 1885-1985, his virtual exhibit published by, featured 100 historical documents, 20 entries, a scholarly introduction and a bibliography. The virtual exhibit was profiled in the Windy City Times and the Rod 2.0 blog on African American gay culture. Tristan was awarded a OutHistory fellowship for the quality of his work. In 2015, the exhibit was enhanced, and now features 120 original documents. His next digital history project, entitled Queering the Chocolate City, will document the history of Black Queer Culture in Washington, DC.

Since 2012, Tristan Cabello teaches in the American Studies Program at American University in Washington, DC, with primary interests in African American Studies, LGBT Studies and Popular Culture Studies. Tristan redesigned the curriculum and added new courses to the American Studies catalog: “AIDS in America,” “In the Life: Black Queer Culture,” “Reading Michael Jackson,” “Global Icons,” and “Washington, DC: Life Inside a Monument.”

In 2014, Tristan Cabello was appointed Director of the American Studies Program. Since then, Cabello has been in charge of all aspects of faculty affairs, program marketing, students’ affairs, program evaluation, financial management and supervision of staff for the American Studies program. He supervises a team of ten faculty members. Every semester, the program welcomes 200 students in its various courses.

At American University, Tristan Cabello serves on several committees: The President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Term Faculty Committee, The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) First-Generation Faculty Committee, the Critical Race, Gender and Culture Studies Council and the the Faculty Senate Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.

Prior to teaching at American University, Tristan taught at Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI), The University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies (Chicago, IL), and Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME).

Tristan Cabello's Curriculum Vitae is available here in PDF. More information is also available on LinkedIn. You can follow him on Twitter at @tristancabello.