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Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Series Q) Paperback – January 13, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0822324430 ISBN-10: 0822324431 Edition: 1ST

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Frequently Bought Together

Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Series Q) + Disidentifications: Queers Of Color And The Performance Of Politics (Cultural Studies of the Americas) + Aberrations In Black: Toward A Queer Of Color Critique (Critical American Studies)
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Product Details

  • Series: Series Q
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; 1ST edition (January 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822324431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822324430
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Black and queer studies have, for the most part, proceeded separately; here, Somerville (English and women's studies, Purdue Univ.) examines the intersections between these fields. In five essays, she looks at the writings of Jean Toomer and Pauline E. Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, the film A Florida Enchantment, and scientific racism. Although limited in scope, her essays do address a number of issues significant in turn of-the-century African American and gay lifeAlike "passing" and self-identificationAand, in doing so, raise interesting questions about the representation of race and sexual identity in U.S. culture. Recommended for all academic sociology and literature collections.AAnthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., TX
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Queering the Color Line is a groundbreaking study that sets a new agenda for critical investigations of the intersecting histories of race and sexuality in the United States. Siobhan Somerville provides a model of interdisciplinary, politically engaged scholarship that is certain to become required reading in queer studies, race theory, and U.S. history as well as American literature.”—Lisa Duggan, New York University


“By offering a new understanding of the emergence of race and sexuality as collaborative entities, Somerville has made an important contribution to the expanding scholarship in African American studies, American studies, queer theory, and cultural studies.”—Robyn Wiegman, author of American Anatomies: Theorizing Race and Gender


“This book pioneers new strategies for understanding the intersectionality of sexuality and race formation. Equally adept at textual analysis and historical contextualization, Somerville demonstrates how the early sexological division of people into homosexuals and heterosexuals was profoundly shaped by the discourse of scientific racism, and she elaborates her argument through a series of subtle reinterpretations of cinematic and literary texts that illuminate the profound—usually inexplicit—interdependence of racial and sexual discourse. A pathbreaking study.”—George Chauncey, University of Chicago

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Queering the Color Line is a successful attempt to integrate (no pun intended) queer theory with a historically-based cultural studies methodology, which makes it all the more interesting. Somerville has done an admirable job taking popular texts and showing how they reflected contemporary medical and sexological discourses about race and homosexuality. I would have liked her to build more historical arguments--which is something I think the previous reviewer was hinting at--rather than doing these textured readings, but I think Somerville is pointing the way toward something very exciting. My one criticism is that she doesn't say anything about the amazing photograph on the book's cover! Who is it, where was it taken (it's from a Yale archive, but we don't know anything else about it!), and in what way(s) is Somerville using it! It's too good to not remark on.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a largely successful attempt to blend together two of the most interesting theoretical innovations--queer theory and critical race theory. When I first purchased this book, I was expecting to struggle with a difficult theorectical text but found the book as a whole to be accessable. The first three chapters in particularly offer careful nuanced readings of scientific, literary and movie texts. As the author states, however, her readings require that the reader accept different models of historical proof as a queer reading generally examines the spaces in between texts. While as a somewhat old fashioned historian, I would have liked to have seen better connections; i.e. a more precise cause and effect relationship between the texts she examines but in fairness it is not her intention to establish such relationships. I nonetheless found her analysis provacitive--I really mean this word and am not simply using it to dismiss the work as some academics do--and suitable for the classroom. My hope is that her work will provoke more study and that the relationship between queer theory and critical race theory will continue to produce books like this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By An Asian Reviewer on August 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a very inspiring book on historical relations between the formation of "homosexual/heterosexual" identities and the drawing of color line in American history, especially in the early Twentieth Century.

We know many books and articles on the invention of sexual identities and on the construction of racial distinctions. However, we hardly know about INTERACTIONS between these historical processes.

This book picks up pioneering sexologists, early cinemas, and African-American writers such as Pauline Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson, and Jean Toomer. It is not a comprehensive inquiry of race and sex in Twentieth-Century America, but makes great contributions to initiating studies on the interactive history of race and sexuality.
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4 of 24 people found the following review helpful By jfpessoa on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The chosen gay jargon of the "closet" is so woefully inadequate to the historical condition of gays dealing with passing for straight. I hoped this book might have really seized on the similarities in the dilemma of passing as it affected Blacks and gay people, but unfortunately this isn't the case.
The author seems to begin with those intentions, but after presenting some interesting thoughts she simply follows them up with a set of four jargon-laden book reports on works of fiction and that's that. What she has produced could be a text for yet another multicultural lit course, but it sadly misses as a discussion of the phenonmenon of gay passing. The survivors of the era in which gay passing was a norm for homosexuals are fewer and fewer. And the passive imagery of "the closet" remains in place, misleading and inappropriate as is to much of the gay past.
It is a shame that there are not traditionally-oriented gay historians dealing with the actual dynamics of gay passing as it affected the lives of millions of men and women. This doesn't come close to being that book.
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