Joseph Plaster

Director, Tabb Center & Curator in Public Humanities

Plaster cultivates an exchange of knowledge between Johns Hopkins University and the greater Baltimore region through participatory action research, oral history, performance, and community-engaged undergraduate courses. He is the author of Kids on the Street: Queer Kinship and Religion in San Francisco’s Tenderloin (Feb 2023, Duke University Press) and the recipient of the National Council on Public History’s 2023 Outstanding Public History Project Award for the Peabody Ballroom Experience, a collaboration with the international ballroom scene. He was awarded the American Historical Association’s Allan Bérubé Prize for Polk Street: Lives in Transition, which drew on original oral histories to intervene in debates about gentrification, homelessness, queer politics, and public safety in the polarized setting of gentrifying San Francisco.

Tabb Center Director Joseph Plaster

Heidi Herr

Librarian for English, Philosophy, and Special Collections Student Engagement

Herr develops programs that engage students in conducting research with primary sources, including the Freshman Fellows program. She teaches courses on topics including the ephemera of the women’s suffrage movement and the development of the cookbook. Additionally, she spearheads the wildly popular Edible Books Festival.

Jo Giardini

Postdoctoral fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities
Giardini is pursuing research on the closure of Johns Hopkins’ Gender Identity Clinic in the late 1970s. They teach for the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and work on library collections development, especially related to queer and trans literary history.

Spencer Hupp

Postdoctoral fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities
Hupp acts as an assistant liaison between the Writing Seminars and Sheridan Libraries. He is working with Heidi Herr to tailor a collection of manuscripts, literary artifacts, and reference items to the needs of Writing Seminars undergraduates and MFA candidates.

The Peabody Ballroom Experience Working Group

The Peabody Ballroom Experience Working Group is composed of Icons and Legends in Baltimore’s ballroom community. The group organizes the annual Peabody ball and related programming, including films, dance trainings, youth internships, and oral history initiatives:

  • Legendary Rhonda Carr
  • Legendary Marco Gray/Marco West
  • Icon Sebastian Escada
  • Icon Hall of Famer Enrique St. Laurent

Tabb Center Advisory Committee

  • François Furstenberg, Professor, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University
  • H. Yumi Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University
  • madison moore, Assistant Professor of Critical Studies in the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California
  • George Ciscle, founder of the Contemporary Museum; founder and director of the MFA in Curatorial Practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Nicole King, Associate Professor, Department of American Studies; Director, Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community, and Culture, UMBC

Organizational Partners

The Tabb Center is built on partnerships with people, institutions, and initiatives across Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore. Partners have included:

Tabb Center Research Assistants

  • Alex Peeples, 2022/23 academic year
  • Marios Falaris, 2022/23 academic year
  • Sophia Lola, Summer 2022
  • Marvis Gutierrez, Spring 2022