Marlon B Ross

Sissy Insurgencies: A Racial Anatomy of Unfit Manliness

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In Sissy Insurgencies Marlon B. Ross focuses on the figure of the sissy in order to rethink how Americans have imagined, articulated, and negotiated manhood and boyhood from the 1880s to the present.

Rather than collapsing sissiness into homosexuality, Ross shows how sissiness constitutes a historically fluid range of gender practices that are expressed as a physical manifestation, discursive epithet, social identity, and political phenomenon. He reconsiders several black leaders, intellectuals, musicians, and athletes within the context of sissiness, from Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, and James Baldwin to Little Richard, Amiri Baraka, and Wilt Chamberlain. Whether examining Washington’s practice of cleaning as an iteration of sissiness, Baldwin’s self-fashioned sissy deportment, or sissiphobia in professional sports and black nationalism, Ross demonstrates that sissiness can be embraced and exploited to conform to American gender norms or disrupt racialized patriarchy. In this way, sissiness constitutes a central element in modern understandings of race and gender.

Author: Marlon B. Ross

Paperback Published January 2022 456 pages

“In this remarkable work of African American intellectual history, Marlon B. Ross refuses to allow the sloppy modes of thought that have us tripping over the distinction between gender conduct and sexual orientation. He is vigilant about the matter of maintaining a distinction between the sissy and the homosexual. This long-overdue study will have a very large impact on queer studies, masculinity studies, and African American studies.” — Robert F. Reid-Pharr, author of Archives of Flesh: African America, Spain, and Post-humanist Critique

Sissy Insurgencies is a model of careful historical and literary analysis from a scholar who has made an indelible mark on masculinity studies, black studies, and queer of color critique. Ambitious and far reaching in scope, this book is a stunning work of sissy insurgent genius.” — C. Riley Snorton, author of Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity

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