Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Series Q)

By | November 5, 2019
Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Series Q) Author Siobhan B. Somerville
ISBN-10 0822324431
ISBN-13 9780822324430
Year 2000-01-13
Pages 272
Language English
Publisher Duke University Press Books
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Queering the Color Line transforms previous understandings of how homosexuality was invented as a category of identity in the United States beginning in the late nineteenth century Analyzing a range of sources including sexology texts early cinema and African American literature Siobhan B Somerville argues that the emerging understanding of homosexuality depended on the context of the black white color line the dominant system of racial distinction during this period This book thus critiques and revises tendencies to treat race and sexuality as unrelated categories of analysis showing instead that race has historically been central to the cultural production of homosexuality At about the same time that the 1896 Supreme Court Plessy v Ferguson decision hardened the racialized boundary between black and white prominent trials were drawing the publics attention to emerging categories of sexual identity Somerville argues that these concurrent developments were not merely parallel but in fact inextricably interrelated and that the discourses of racial and sexual deviance were used to reinforce each others terms She provides original readings of such texts as Havelock Elliss late nineteenth century work on sexual inversion the 1914 film A Florida Enchantment the novels of Pauline E Hopkins James Weldon Johnsons Autobiography of an Ex Coloured Man and Jean Toomers fiction and autobiographical writings including Cane Through her analyses of these texts and her archival research Somerville contributes to the growing body of scholarship that focuses on discovering the intersections of gender race and sexuality Queering the Color Line will have broad appeal across disciplines including African American studies gay and lesbian studies literary criticism cultural studies cinema studies and gender studies

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