Although in recent years scholars have explored the cultural construction of masculinity, they have largely ignored the ways in which masculinity intersects with other categories of identity, particularly those of race and ethnicity. The essays in Race and the Subject of Masculinities address this concern and focus on the social construction of masculinity—black, white, ethnic, gay, and straight—in terms of the often complex and dynamic relationships among these inseparable categories. Discussing a wide range of subjects including the inherent homoeroticism of martial-arts cinema, the relationship between working-class ideologies and Elvis impersonators, the emergence of a gay, black masculine aesthetic in the works of James Van der Zee and Robert Mapplethorpe, and the comedy of Richard Pryor, Race and the Subject of Masculinities provides a variety of opportunities for thinking about how race, sexuality, and "manhood" are reinforced and reconstituted in today’s society. Editors Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel have gathered together essays that make clear how the formation of masculine identity is never as obvious as it might seem to be. Examining personas as varied as Eddie Murphy, Bruce Lee, Tarzan, Malcolm X, and Andre Gidé, these essays draw on feminist critique and queer theory to demonstrate how cross-identification through performance and spectatorship among men of different races and cultural backgrounds has served to redefine masculinity in contemporary culture. By taking seriously the role of race in the making of men, Race and the Subject of Masculinities offers an important challenge to the new studies of masculinity.
Contributors. Herman Beavers, Jonathan Dollimore, Richard Dyer, Robin D. G. Kelly, Christopher Looby, Leerom Medovoi, Eric Lott, Deborah E. McDowell, José E. Muñoz, Harry Stecopoulos, Yvonne Tasker, Michael Uebel, Gayle Wald, Robyn Wiegman
Racial Castration, the first book to bring together the fields of Asian American studies and psychoanalytic theory, explores the role of sexuality in racial formation and the place of race in sexual identity. David L. Eng examines images—literary, visual, and filmic—that configure past as well as contemporary perceptions of Asian American men as emasculated, homosexualized, or queer. Eng juxtaposes theortical discussions of Freud, Lacan, and Fanon with critical readings of works by Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lonny Kaneko, David Henry Hwang, Louie Chu, David Wong Louie, Ang Lee, and R. Zamora Linmark. While situating these literary and cultural productions in relation to both psychoanalytic theory and historical events of particular significance for Asian Americans, Eng presents a sustained analysis of dreamwork and photography, the mirror stage and the primal scene, and fetishism and hysteria. In the process, he offers startlingly new interpretations of Asian American masculinity in its connections to immigration exclusion, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, multiculturalism, and the model minority myth. After demonstrating the many ways in which Asian American males are haunted and constrained by enduring domestic norms of sexuality and race, Eng analyzes the relationship between Asian American male subjectivity and the larger transnational Asian diaspora. Challenging more conventional understandings of diaspora as organized by race, he instead reconceptualizes it in terms of sexuality and queerness.
Portraits of self-made men are rife in Western culture, as James V. Catano observes. Positive and negative, admittedly fictional and ostensibly factual, these portraits endure because the general rhetorical practice embodied in the myth of the self-made man enacts both the need and the very means for making oneself masculine: verbal power and prowess. The myth of the self-made man, in short, is part of ongoing rhetorical practices that constitute society, culture, and subjects.
To explain those practices and their effectiveness, Catano argues that the basic narrative achieves much of its effectiveness by engaging and enacting the traditional psychological dynamics of the family romance: preoedipal separation, oedipal conflict, and “ proper” postoedipal self-definition and socialization.
To focus on the combined social, psychological, and rhetorical dynamics that constitute the ongoing activity he calls masculine self-making, Catano emphasizes a particular strand: masculinity and steelmaking. Pursuing that strand, he argues that these representations of masculine self-making are rhetorical enactments of cultural needs and desires, and that they are ongoing and formative arguments about what society and its individuals either are or should be.
Who was Theodore Roosevelt? Most of us think of him as one of America's greatest presidents, a champion of progressive politics, and a master statesman. But many feared the political power that Roosevelt wielded. Woodrow Wilson once called him "the most dangerous man of the age." Mark Twain thought him "clearly insane." William James scorned the "flood of bellicose emotion" he let loose during his presidency. Even his biographer, Edmund Morris, is astonished at Roosevelt's "irrational love of battle."
In this book, Sarah Watts probes this dark side of the Rough Rider, presenting a fascinating psychological portrait of a man whose personal obsession with masculinity profoundly influenced the fate of a nation. Drawing on his own writings and on media representations of him, Watts attributes the wide appeal of Roosevelt's style of manhood to the way it addressed the hopes and anxieties of men of his time. Like many of his contemporaries, Roosevelt struggled with what it meant to be a man in the modern era. He saw two foes within himself: a fragile weakling and a primitive beast. The weakling he punished and toughened with rigorous, manly pursuits such as hunting, horseback riding, and war. The beast he unleashed through brutal criticism of homosexuals, immigrants, pacifists, and sissies—anyone who might tarnish the nation's veneer of strength and vigor. With his unabashed paeans to violence and aggressive politics, Roosevelt ultimately offered American men a chance to project their longings and fears onto the nation and its policies. In this way he harnessed the primitive energy of men's desires to propel the march of American civilization—over the bodies of anyone who might stand in its way.
Written with passion and precision, this powerful revisioning of an American icon will forever alter the way we see Theodore Roosevelt and his political legacy.
"A superb scholarly study of how Roosevelt built his political base on the aspiration and fears of men in a rapidly changing nation and world."—Charles K. Piehl, Library Journal
"A thought-provoking and innovative study of the dark side of Roosevelt's personality. . . . [Watt's] arguments are clear, passionate, and thoroughly supported."—Elizabeth A. Bennion, Journal of Interdisciplinary History