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Black Gay Man


Robert Reid-Pharr, Samuel Delany

Publication Year: 2001

At turns autobiographical, political, literary, erotic, and humorous, Black Gay Man will spoil our preconceived notions of not only what it means to be black, gay and male but also what it means to be a contemporary intellectual. Both a celebration of black gay male identity as well as a powerful critique of the structures that allow for the production of that identity, Black Gay Man introduces the eloquent new voice of Robert Reid-Pharr in cultural criticism.

At once erudite and readable, the range of topics and positions taken up in Black Gay Man reflect the complexity of American life itself. Treating subjects as diverse as the Million Man March, interracial sex, anti-Semitism, turn of the century American intellectualism as well as literary and cultural figures ranging from Essex Hemphill and Audre Lorde to W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon and James Baldwin, Black Gay Man is a bold and nuanced attempt to question prevailing ideas about community, desire, politics and culture. Moving beyond critique, Reid-Pharr also pronounces upon the promises of a new America. With the publication of Black Gay Man, Robert Reid-Pharr is sure to take his place as one of this country's most exciting and challenging left intellectuals.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

For opening innumerable doors for me, to the heart, to the head, to the tools of my trade many thanks and much love go to Lee Baker, Mia Bay, Roberto Bedoya, Jodi Benjamin, Herman Bennett, Antoinette Burton, Hazel Carby, Bill Cohen, Arnaldo Cruz- Malave, Patricia Dixon, Cheryl Dunye, Shelly Eversley ...

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pp. xi-xvii

Between the glorious promise of 1848's Communist Manifesto and the more focused analysis of 1851's Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (and its darker twin, The Class Struggle in France: 1848 to 1850), a problematic intrudes itself into Marx's thought that will trouble the left up to the present day. From the Revolution ...

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pp. 1-18

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of completing this collection has been coming to terms with the work's title, Black Gay Man. The reason for my difficulty is not only the rather obvious fact that one's identity cannot possibly be summed up by the phrase or any of its derivatives -- Negro queer, colored sissy, nigger faggot ...


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pp. 19

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I Speaking through Anti-Semitism

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pp. 21-43

It is amazing to consider how little we actually learned from the incredible controversy that gripped the nation following the shocking remarks of Khalid Muhammad, minister of the Nation of Islam, on the campus of Kean College in November 1993. It was not, of course, that no one paid attention, or that there was ...

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II Cosmopolitan Afrocentric Mulatto Intellectual

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pp. 44-61

The rather daunting challenge of reading Ross Posnock's Color and Culture: Black Writers and the Making of the Modern Intellectual in relation to Wilson Jeremiah Moses's Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History is the necessity of coming to terms with both writers' insistence that categories generally understood ...

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III At Home in America

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pp. 62-82

The belief that the black family, the black home, is in crisis, in ruins, has been one of the most palpable realities of U.S. culture. It has been bemoaned and pronounced upon by both black and white, from both the left and the right. It has been used as an argument for the erection of the welfare state ...

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IV Dinge

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pp. 85-98

If there is one thing that marks us as queer, a category that is somehow different, if not altogether distinct, from the heterosexual, then it is undoubtedly our relationships to the body, particularly the expansive ways in which we utilize and combine vaginas, penises, breasts, buttocks, hands, arms, feet, stomachs, ...

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V Tearing the Goat's Flesh

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pp. 99-134

I would like to take a few moments to share with you the rather pedestrian publication history of the essay you are about to read. I began it in the early 1990s as a chapter of my dissertation and designed it, like all too many final chapters of apprentice works, as an update of what I thought of as my decidedly unsexy ...

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VI The Shock of Gary Fisher

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pp. 135-150

The shock of Gary Fisher, and his collection Gary in Your Pocket, the ugly, unsettling, if strangely erotic effect of poetry and prose written by an already dead writer who never accessed print in his lifetime, is the uncanny directness of it all, Fisher's perverse rationality. One is left speechless by his unassailable common ...

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VII Living as a Lesbian

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pp. 153-163

In 1985 Barbara Smith came like a fresh wind to Chapel Hill. She brought with her a vision of home unlike anything I had imagined. Home held out promises of redemption and nurturance, acceptance and love. Home was populated with brothers and sisters so unlike my own "natural" family in their politics, their ...

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VIII It's Raining Men

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pp. 164-175

Perhaps the most curious feature of the 1995 Million Man March was the way that this massive political demonstration, at least twice the size of the historic 1963 March on Washington, actually worked to reinforce the racial commonsense of the nation. At a moment when the enemies of Black America had consolidated ...

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IX A Child's Life

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pp. 176-182

The funerals that I remember from my childhood were wonderful, spectacular events. We would give to our dead relatives and friends, and indeed to all the lost members of our community, the pageantry, the glory, the wrenching evocation of love and loss that were most often missing from their lives. My great aunt ...


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pp. 183-190


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pp. 191-194

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pp. 195

Robert F. Reid-Pharr is associate professor of English at the Johns Hopkins University. He has published widely in both the academic and popular press on matters of race, gender, sexuality, and American culture, and is the author of Conjugal Union: The Body, the House and the Black American (Oxford University Press, 1999). ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814769218
E-ISBN-10: 0814769217
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814775028
Print-ISBN-10: 0814775020

Page Count: 214
Publication Year: 2001

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Race identity.
  • African American gay men -- Intellectual life.
  • Gay men -- United States -- Intellectual life.
  • African American gay men -- Identity.
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