Thomas Waugh

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Thomas Waugh
Born1948 (age 7172)
London, Ontario
OccupationAcademic, Author, Critic, Programmer, Activist
Notable worksShow Us Life: Towards a History and Aesthetics of the Committed Documentary

Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall
The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas


Conscience of Cinema: The Work of Joris Ivens, 1912-1989

Thomas Waugh is a Canadian critic, programmer, lecturer, author, actor, and activist, [1] [2] [3] best known for his extensive work on documentary film and eroticism in the history of LGBTQIA2+ cinema and art. [4] A distinguished professor emeritus at Concordia University, [5] he taught 41 years in the film studies program of the School of Cinema and held a research chair in documentary film and sexual representation. He was also the director of the Concordia HIV/AIDS Project, 1993-2017, a program providing a platform for research and conversations involving HIV/AIDS in the Montréal area. [6]

A graduate of Columbia University, he wrote film criticism and history articles for publications such as Jump Cut and The Body Politic before publishing his first book, Show Us Life: Towards a History and Aesthetics of the Committed Documentary, in 1984.

His 1996 book, Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall, took 13 years to research and write. [7] Its release was delayed eight full months after its initial planned publication date, due to difficulty finding a printer willing to handle the book's sexually explicit homoerotic imagery. [8]

He is a two-time Lambda Literary Award nominee, garnering nominations in the Visual Arts category at the 15th Lambda Literary Awards in 2003 for Out/Lines: Underground Gay Graphics From Before Stonewall, [9] and at the 17th Lambda Literary Awards in 2005 for Lust Unearthed: Vintage Gay Graphics from the DuBek Collection. [10] He is also the recipient of the SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award for The Conscience of Cinema: The Work of Joris Ivens, 1912-1989.

Waugh has also served on the board of Cinema Politica, [11] has been active with the Quebec Gay Archives, [12] and is coeditor with Matthew Hays of the Queer Film Classics series of 19 monographs on LGBT film, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. [13] In 2013 Waugh, Ryan Conrad and Cinema Politica raised funds on Indiegogo to produce and distribute a documentary film about the Russian LGBT organization Children-404. [14]

In 2010, Waugh and filmmaker Kim Simard launched the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec, an online database project to collect and publish information about LGBT films and videos made in Canada and the personalities involved in their creation. [15] The project was based in part on his 2006 book The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas.


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  1. |name=xtra>Daniel Allen Cox
  2. Waugh, Thomas (8 August 2019). "My Coming Out: 'I'm Afraid This Letter Is Going To Cause You Both A Lot Of Pain". Montreal Gazette.
  3. "Naked Lunch: An interview with Thomas Waugh". Xtra! , January 5, 2010.
  4. "Naked Lunch: An interview with Thomas Waugh". Xtra! , January 5, 2010.
  5. "Filling the void of LGBT cultural amnesia; Concordia profs at the helm of book series revisiting 21 influential movies". Montreal Gazette , January 25, 2012.
  6. Braganza, Chantal (January 14, 2015). "The evolution of porn studies". University Affairs. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  7. "Behind shocking gay photos, this is a serious study". Edmonton Journal , November 30, 1996.
  8. "Gay history fit to print: Book slated for sale by early November". The Globe and Mail , September 26, 1996.
  9. "15th Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary Foundation, July 9, 2003.
  10. "17th Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary Foundation, July 9, 2005.
  11. "Cinema should encourage debate". National Post , March 19, 2010.
  12. "Making things perfectly queer". Concordia News, March 1, 2013.
  13. "Queer Film Classics Film Book Series ed. by Thomas Waugh, Matthew Hays (review)". Journal of Film and Video (Volume 66, Number 2), Summer 2014. pp. 48-50.
  14. "Russian film about LGBTQ youth seeks funds". Windy City Times , November 5, 2013.
  15. "Online database of queer Canadian movies launching at Toronto Pride". The Globe and Mail , June 24, 2015.