Though queer studies is a well-established field, two recent texts ask us to look more closely at its history. Each of these volumes offers important analysis and historiography on gay identity, but they are quite distinct in genre and ideological aims. These authors employ vastly different methodologies—one book is largely a historical account of American black gay men, and the other is an analysis of what the author calls “gay modernity” (Pérez, 1). Yet each book contains important readings on gayness in contemporary society and despite their differences could be of complementary use in any queer theory course. Hiram Pérez’s A Taste for Brown Bodies: Gay Modernity and Cosmopolitan Desire argues that the rise of the gay modern occurred at the expense of marginalized, racialized others. In this sense, Pérez’s book is a critique of what he calls queer studies’ “racial unconsciousness.” Pérez argues that despite queer studies’ avowed dedication...
A Taste for Brown Bodies: Gay Modernity and Cosmopolitan Desire
Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis
Stefanie K. Dunning is associate professor of English at Miami University of Ohio. She is the author of Queer in Black and White: Interraciality, Same Sex Desire, and Contemporary African American Culture (Indiana Univ. Press, 2009). She is an alumna of Spelman College and the University of California, Riverside, and a Ford Fellow. Her work has been published in MELUS, African American Review, and multiple edited volumes. She is currently at work on a volume about black women’s writing and nature.
Stefanie K. Dunning; A Taste for Brown Bodies: Gay Modernity and Cosmopolitan Desire
Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis. American Literature 1 September 2018; 90 (3): 654–656. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-6994943
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