hits counter Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture

Availability: Ready to download

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 o 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 public’s 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 other’s terms. She provides original readings of such texts as Havelock Ellis’s late nineteenth-century work on “sexual inversion,” the 1914 film A Florida Enchantment, the novels of Pauline E. Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, and Jean Toomer’s 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.


Compare

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 o 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 public’s 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 other’s terms. She provides original readings of such texts as Havelock Ellis’s late nineteenth-century work on “sexual inversion,” the 1914 film A Florida Enchantment, the novels of Pauline E. Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, and Jean Toomer’s 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.

30 review for Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alok Vaid-Menon

    While persecution of sodomy and gender non-conformity has existed for centuries, the “homosexual” (a term for an identity based on sexual practice) was only created by scientists in 1869. During this period, white policy makers sought to establish “scientific” differences between races in order to justify and preserve white supremacy. With this agenda in mind, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, scientists underwent an unprecedented effort to identify and “fix” homosexuals in order to pre While persecution of sodomy and gender non-conformity has existed for centuries, the “homosexual” (a term for an identity based on sexual practice) was only created by scientists in 1869. During this period, white policy makers sought to establish “scientific” differences between races in order to justify and preserve white supremacy. With this agenda in mind, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, scientists underwent an unprecedented effort to identify and “fix” homosexuals in order to preserve the “future of the race.” In the early 19th century scientists believed in “polygeny,” the idea that different races were different species with distinct anatomies. Scientists utilized various pseudoscientific methods (like measuring skulls) to emphasize bodily differences between races, all the while ignoring the vast majority of similarities. Polygeny allowed policy makers to justify denying political rights to Black people, Indigenous people, and other racialized people who were seen as less than human and therefore incapable of self-governance. After Darwin’s theory of evolution (1859), white scientists had to confront the reality that they actually came from the same species as the racialized people they demeaned. Now all people were understood as descending from a common ancestor. Scientists adapted their racism to this new idea of monogenesis: arguing that while BIPOC people may not be different species, they were still “underdeveloped humans.” White scientists fabricated a racial evolutionary hierarchy positioning Black people closest to animals, followed by other people of color, followed by white women, followed by white men who were seen as the pinnacle of evolution. Scientists argued that as societies develop, they became more sexually differentiated: males and females looked and acted differently from one another. The idea went that in “primitive” societies the distinction between males and females was unclear, but in “civilized” white society sexual difference was much more pronounced. Scientists like Havelock Ellis argued that being gender non-conforming was a marker of savagery. In The Evolution of Sex biologists Patrick Geddes and Arthur Thomson explicitly write: “hermaphroditism is primitive.” Homosexuality and gender non-conformity became demonized and understood as a relic of a primitive past incompatible with modernity. With the dawn of the 20th century, white men became overwhelmed by the fear of “race suicide,” the idea that they would lose power due to the influx of immigrants and the increased political empowerment of white women and Black people. In response to this fear: white male scientists and policy makers argued that white people must reproduce more to ensure the continued dominance of the race. Scientists began to vehemently demonize homosexuality because it was nonreproductive and unable to propagate the race. Prominent sexologist William Robinson argued that homosexuality was “a sign of degeneracy” and that “every sexual deviation or disorder which has for its result an inability to perpetuate the race is…pathologic…this is pre-eminently true of homosexuality” (31). Scientists would comment on how white homosexuals’ physical features were like Black people, as a way to further cement the idea that homosexuality and gender non-conformity were evolutionary “throwbacks” that had failed to undergo the sexual differentiation of racial evolution. In order to “fix” this problem, eugenicists began to perform anti-LGBTQ chemical castrations, involuntary sterilizations, electroconvulsive therapies, lobotomies, non-consensual “corrective” surgeries, and involuntary detention of LGBTQ people in mental health institutions. Much of our contemporary medical diagnostics about LGBTQ people is still informed by this legacy. From this history we can learn how homophobia and transphobia are informed and fueled by racism. Racial justice is necessary for LGBTQ justice.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cookie

    Dang, someone already wrote a book on my wannabe dissertation topic. There's very little work on 19th c. U.S. queer history that incorporates race, but this one does a masterful job of it, discussing scientific racism, eugenics and the pervry sexologists all in one swoop. Awesome. Dang, someone already wrote a book on my wannabe dissertation topic. There's very little work on 19th c. U.S. queer history that incorporates race, but this one does a masterful job of it, discussing scientific racism, eugenics and the pervry sexologists all in one swoop. Awesome.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mendi

    Tara is on it -- once again naming books on my bookshelf that I have yet to get to.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Hamadeh

    Fascinating book discussing the relationship between "racial science" and "sexual pathology" beginning in the late 19th century. Fascinating book discussing the relationship between "racial science" and "sexual pathology" beginning in the late 19th century.

  5. 5 out of 5

    i.

    In Queering the Color Line Sommerville takes a close look at texts from the late-19th to early-20th centuries, in an attempt to examine how the reiteration of naturalized Black/white racial categories maps, co-produces, and works in tension with the production of "homosexual/invert/heterosexual" as naturalized categories of sexuality. In her first chapter, Sommerville examines medical-scientific texts about the production of sexology and its invocation (and thus, re-naturalization) of racial dif In Queering the Color Line Sommerville takes a close look at texts from the late-19th to early-20th centuries, in an attempt to examine how the reiteration of naturalized Black/white racial categories maps, co-produces, and works in tension with the production of "homosexual/invert/heterosexual" as naturalized categories of sexuality. In her first chapter, Sommerville examines medical-scientific texts about the production of sexology and its invocation (and thus, re-naturalization) of racial difference. In her second chapter, Sommerville examines A Florida Enchantment and thinks through how the play--and the broader context of the "crossdressing" craze--reveal both racial and gendered anxieties about sexuality (both heterosexual and homosexual eroticism) and the production of discourses of "invert" bodies. In the third chapter, Sommerville turns to the figure of the mulatta, reading Pauline E. Hopkins' mulatta characters as both revealing the limits of "acceptability" of interracial heterosexuality (103-104) and the ways in which the mulatta may represent modes of sexual and racial mobility/fluidity (80). In her fourth chapter, Sommerville examines Weldon's Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, similarly reading it for the co-production of narratives of male "gender inversion," passing, and super-textual linkages of race to queerness. In her fifth chapter, Sommerville reads Jean Toomer's racial disidentification, his characters, and narratives in the context of queering/problematizing the binaries of identity that were developing/co-developing/reasserting themselves in his Toomer's time period. Finally, in her conclusion, Sommerville tentatively makes connections to her readings to contemporaneous attempts to link race, sexuality, and biology through genetics. While Sommerville is careful to limit her analysis and findings to the particular period she is examining, her readings of the co-production of racialized and gendered and sexualized meanings have important implications for thinking through how these all function and have functioned as modalities of power. Notable about this analysis, too, is the focus on ambivalence and ambivalences; while I recognize this as a difference in disciplinary scope, the privileging of ambivalences over analyzing systems of power and the function of these texts in such systems, at times, leave the analysis feeling somewhat lacking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Hardcover) by Siobhan B. Somerville Will the 10 people in the world who are educated enough to be competent readers of this book please stand up. As for a summary, the Goodreads summary above does as good a job as needed. Unless you simply take her words for it, for all the "it's", you better read some books first. The following is a list of prerequisites for reading the Introduction and the first chapter: The Hi Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture (Hardcover) by Siobhan B. Somerville Will the 10 people in the world who are educated enough to be competent readers of this book please stand up. As for a summary, the Goodreads summary above does as good a job as needed. Unless you simply take her words for it, for all the "it's", you better read some books first. The following is a list of prerequisites for reading the Introduction and the first chapter: The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction some books on "whiteness" Studies in the Psychology of Sex Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaPsychopathia Sexualis: A Medico-Legal Study The History of White People

  7. 5 out of 5

    Travis Wagner

    To be clear this rating is not indicative of Somerville's overall project. The content is solid, my only concern is that folks might pick this up thinking it is a historical account exclusively, when it is much more of a media/literary studies piece than anything. That being said the introduction and opening chapter are necessary reading for anyone study the intersections of queerness and blackness. To be clear this rating is not indicative of Somerville's overall project. The content is solid, my only concern is that folks might pick this up thinking it is a historical account exclusively, when it is much more of a media/literary studies piece than anything. That being said the introduction and opening chapter are necessary reading for anyone study the intersections of queerness and blackness.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt Sautman

    Somerville’s work explores the parallels between the invention of diagnosable homosexuality and scientific racism, while at the same time interrogating representations of queer identity that manifest in late 19th century and early 20th century African American literature. I’m somewhat surprised though that she doesn’t engage with phenomenology as much as the title somewhat implies. Still, for a text written in 2000, Queering the Color Line remains intellectually rich and fresh.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Danyel

    I read parts of this book in various courses throughout my academic career. I had the privilege of reading this book in its entirety for a graduate seminar lead by the amazing Katherine McKittrick. This book explores of race, sexuality, gender and eugenics. I particularly enjoyed the discussions around mixed-raced identities and passing and black queer desire.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tallon Kennedy

    The chapter on scientific racism in 19th-century America is really wonderful and thought-provoking

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meen

    Hmmmm, I'm all about some intersectionality, but it sounds like this is strrrretching a bit. Hmmmm, I'm all about some intersectionality, but it sounds like this is strrrretching a bit.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    While the author raised some interesting ideas and the concept was intriguing, I don't think there was enough evidence to prove her thesis. While the author raised some interesting ideas and the concept was intriguing, I don't think there was enough evidence to prove her thesis.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mohosana mohosanakatun mohosanakatun

  14. 5 out of 5

    Esme R

  15. 5 out of 5

    Liv

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zachary DuBois

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mateusz

  19. 4 out of 5

    D. Cooper

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roy Pérez

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kritika

  23. 4 out of 5

    Riza Kumar-Jaitly

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara Beth

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margaux

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

  27. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Raul Ferrera-Balanquet

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.