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Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low

by

Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Since the early 2000s, the phenomenon of the “down low”—black men who have sex with men as well as women and do not identify as gay, queer, or bisexual—has exploded in news media and popular culture, from the Oprah Winfrey Show to R & B singer R. Kelly’s hip hopera Trapped in the Closet. Most down-low stories are morality tales in which black men are either predators who risk infecting their unsuspecting female partners with HIV or victims of a pathological black culture that repudiates openly gay identities. In both cases, down-low narratives depict black men as sexually dangerous, duplicitous, promiscuous, and contaminated.

In Nobody Is Supposed to Know, C. Riley Snorton traces the emergence and circulation of the down low in contemporary media and popular culture to show how these portrayals reinforce troubling perceptions of black sexuality. Reworking Eve Sedgwick’s notion of the “glass closet,” Snorton advances a new theory of such representations in which black sexuality is marked by hypervisibility and confinement, spectacle and speculation. Through close readings of news, music, movies, television, and gossip blogs, Nobody Is Supposed to Know explores the contemporary genealogy, meaning, and functions of the down low.

Snorton examines how the down low links blackness and queerness in the popular imagination and how the down low is just one example of how media and popular culture surveil and police black sexuality. Looking at figures such as Ma Rainey, Bishop Eddie L. Long, J. L. King, and Will Smith, he ultimately contends that down-low narratives reveal the limits of current understandings of black sexuality.

Synopsis:

Since the early 2000s, the phenomenon of the “down low”—black men who have sex with men as well as women and do not identify as gay, queer, or bisexual—has exploded in media and popular culture. C. Riley Snorton traces the emergence and circulation of the down low, demonstrating how these portrayals reinforce troubling perceptions of black sexuality generally.

About the Author

C. Riley Snorton is assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Transpositions

1. Down Low Genealogies

2. Trapped in the Epistemological Closet

3. Black Sexual Syncretism

4. Rumor Has It

Conclusion: Down Low Diasporas

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780816677979
Author:
Snorton, C. Riley
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Subject:
Gay Studies
Subject:
Gay and Lesbian-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20140331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1
Pages:
216
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 1 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Film and Video
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low New Trade Paper
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Product details 216 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816677979 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Since the early 2000s, the phenomenon of the “down low”—black men who have sex with men as well as women and do not identify as gay, queer, or bisexual—has exploded in media and popular culture. C. Riley Snorton traces the emergence and circulation of the down low, demonstrating how these portrayals reinforce troubling perceptions of black sexuality generally.

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