Jose Esteban Munoz

The Sense of Brown

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The Sense of Brown is José Esteban Muñoz's treatise on brownness and being as well as his most direct address to queer Latinx studies.

In this book, which he was completing at the time of his death, Muñoz examines the work of playwrights Ricardo Bracho and Nilo Cruz, artists Nao Bustamante, Isaac Julien, and Tania Bruguera, and singer José Feliciano, among others, arguing for a sense of brownness that is not fixed within the racial and national contours of Latinidad. This sense of brown is not about the individualized brown subject; rather, it demonstrates that for brown peoples, being exists within what Muñoz calls the brown commons—a lifeworld, queer ecology, and form of collectivity. In analyzing minoritarian affect, ethnicity as a structure of feeling, and brown feelings as they emerge in, through, and beside art and performance, Muñoz illustrates how the sense of brown serves as the basis for other ways of knowing and being in the world.

Author: Jose Esteban Munoz

Paperback Published October 2020 224 pages

“The final work of José Esteban Muñoz—scholar, mentor, and precious node in an intergenerational and transnational web of intellectual and social relations—will be received with eager enthusiasm and a box of tissues.” — Juana María Rodríguez, author of Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

“In The Sense of Brown, José Esteban Muñoz maps and grapples with an evolving theory and method of feeling and being in the world that he names brown. In this work, brownness 'is already here, . . . vast, present, and vital.’ Muñoz gives his theory ‘historically specific affective particularity,’ rejecting the abjective. Read on their own and in tandem with Muñoz's earlier works, these thirteen essays written with care and a sense of urgency outlive his too-soon passing. Lovingly edited, they are a gift.” — Christina Sharpe, author of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being

"Conceptualizing Latinx studies within the terms Muñoz offers, those of affect, aesthetics, and performance, gives way for more room in which to construct a Latinx studies that seeks to counter anti-blackness and anti-indigeneity, assimilationism, settler nation-state borders and boundaries, language essentialisms, and other settler colonial logics which merely reify the power structures perpetuating global precarity, exploitation, violence, and death." — Marcos Gonsalez, ASAP/Journal

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