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.”...

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