Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a slave (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (461)

Mumford, Kevin. “Homosex Changes: Race, Cultural Geography, and the Emergence of the Gay.”

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Mumford, Kevin. “Homosex Changes: Race, Cultural Geography, and the Emergence of the Gay.” American Quarterly 48 (1996): 395-414. (19)
Mumford’s piece, “Homosex Changes: Race, Cultural Geography, and the Emergence of the Gay”, details the long running history of the ostracization of the homosexual community while also drawing connections to their intimate interaction with and reliance on the African American community throughout the early 20th century. Though a dense, yet enlightening, retelling of the emergence of homosexual studies within the fields of sociology, biology, history and anthropology, Mumford analyzes the relationship between the equally as excluded African American culture and the mingling of the groups through geographical conditions, as well as societal push. Citing George Chauncey as a primary researcher in the field, Mumford explains that through the 1920’s two theories emerged in regards to homosexuality in the field of biological medicine, one which explained it through a model of gender inversion where homosexual men appropriated to the female gender role, and another which indicated that it was the object in which the subject desired which was the perversion.232 As highlighted later in the piece, as well as can be seen with modern day social theory, these definitions are now outdated. But the juxtaposition between the misunderstanding and, ultimate, mishandling of homosexuality in the past century with the degradation and social torture of the African American population is overwhelmingly obvious. The affinity of the homosexual population with that of the African American is understandable seeing that societal bearing would often categorize the cultural capital of one group into the other.233 As Mumford explores, this displacement of homosexual cultural capital worked to racialize their issues against the white, hetero-normative authority.234 Through the implementation of intense historical reference and comparison with an equally as socially ostracized group, Mumford works to further the understanding of the hetero-normative hold which modern-day society seems to be under. In many ways, his work is accurate and influential in exposing this system of domination, especially when in close comparison to the racism which is associated and based off of that regarding the African American population.

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