Devin A. Oliver

Latin American Studies, Community & Regional Planning
Affiliated Graduate Students

Devin A. Oliver is a young, black, queer activist researcher, working across the academic fields of geography, black studies, and urban planning. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Devin completed his BA at The Ohio State University in Geography, and is now in his second year at UT as a dual MA/MS student in Latin American Studies and Community & Regional Planning. Devin’s research considers the ways in which race, class, gender, and sexuality together direct violence toward young black LGBT bodies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and how black LGBT youth must be understood as political actors through their everyday experiences and visions of the city. Devin’s research project seeks to map and interrogate: (1) the geographies of violence against black LGBT youth in Rio de Janeiro’s gay tourist spaces and peripheral communities; and, (2) the places they locate and construct as platforms from which to foster community and challenge racism and homophobia. By examining the co-constitutive roles of race, sexuality, gender, class, and age in directing violence toward black LGBT youth, Devin’s research sheds light on key sites of lingering structural and everyday violence despite liberal reform through gay marriage, parades, and mainstream visibility in “gay spaces”. Another objective of Devin's work is to help foster transnational dialogue and activist work between black LGBT youth in both Brazil and the US. To carry out his project, Devin uses ethnographic mapping methods (e.g., "photovoice," exploratory walking, and mental mapping) that engage GIS software, web-based mapping technologies, social media, photography, art, and storytelling.