The words we use to categorize people are proliferating, signaling the increasing instability of our cultural categories for describing race, gender, and sexuality. But is this instability and border crossing a new phenomenon or are we simply more aware of the tenuousness of identity? How are we to understand this explosion of identities and conscious border crossings? We will explore such questions from a historical perspective, beginning with the eighteenth century and ending in the mid-twentieth century. To further focus our discussions, we pay particular attention to racial and gender boundary crossing. Where possible, we will look for circumstances where these racial and gender boundaries intersect. Throughout the course, we hope to give students a historical context for understanding the various ways people cross-cultural boundaries and to alert students to the ways race, gender, and sexuality can be intertwined. Writers we will most likely read include: Nella Larsen, Lisa Duggan, Judith Butler, James Weldon Johnson, and Ross Chambers. Films we may study include Imitation of Life and Looking for Langston.