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Workshop 4: Racialized Masculinities in Sexual Worlds

Primarily Synchronous (June 1-4)

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Workshop Leaders:

Casey Kelly, University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr., Washington University:

The cutting edge of rhetorical study in gender and sexuality is scholarship which understands the interrogations of race as essential. Indeed, women of color feminism, black queer studies, and queer of color critique have been bedrocks in this compilation of thought—offering us much direction in our critical analysis and interpretation of cultural worlds. The history of slavery, Jim Crow, nativism, and nationalism is all undergirded by a paranoid construction of Otherized masculinities—criminal, deviant, violent, and oversexualized—that threaten the primacy of white Anglo-manhood. Attending to the rhetorical challenges of world-making, this workshop will critically examine the racial, gendered, and sexual entailments of discourses, images, and representations of manhood.

This workshop is an interdisciplinary and multi-methodological engagement with racialized masculinities and sexualities. The workshop will cover rhetorical constructions and performances of masculinity within the race, gender, and sexual formations in the United States, particularly where racialized masculinities intersect with queer and trans identity, blackness and anti-blackness, whiteness, Otherness, imperialism, coloniality, class, and ability. In this two-day exploration, we use critical readings, filmic/performance texts, and ethnographic materials to explore how frameworks which employ a racialized lens help us understand the dynamic permutations of gender and sexuality. Toward this aim, we will engage such questions as: What does it mean to interrogate white ownership of even queer theory and constructs, while also taking seriously gender and sexuality across racialized contexts? How are different publics understanding masculinities and sexualities? How do scholars address perennial pronouncements of “masculinities in crisis” and their implications for multiple overlapping identities?

Casey Ryan KellyCasey Ryan Kelly is Professor of Rhetoric and Public Culture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is author of three single-authored books, an edited book collection, and over forty articles and book chapters, published in venues such the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. His latest book Apocalypse Man: The Death Drive and the Rhetoric of White Masculine Victimhood was published in 2020 by the Ohio State University Press. Kelly is also the recipient of numerous awards including NCA’s Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award.


Jeffrey Q. McCune  Jr.Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, is the author of the award-winning book Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing. He is presently completing two book projects, Disobedient Reading: An Experiment in Seeing Black, and the other on the “wildness” of Kanye West titled, On Kanye. He has published in a variety of journals and also serves on the editorial board of numerous journals. He is the co-editor of the University of California Press’s New Sexual Worlds book series. For his work at the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality, McCune has been featured on Left of Black, Sirius XM’s Joe Madison Show, HuffPost Live, NPR and as a guest expert on Bill Nye Saves The World.

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