Associate Professor of English
Massachusetts Hall - 107
Guy Mark Foster
Violence and interracial sex have long been conjoined in U.S. literary, televisual, and filmic work. The enduring nature of this conjoining suggests there is some symbolic logic at work in these narratives, such that black/white intimacy functions as a figural stand-in for negative (and sometimes positive) commentary on black/white social conflict. When this happens, what becomes of “sex” as a historically changing phenomenon when it is yoked to the historically unchanging phenomenon of the “interracial”? Although counter-narratives have recently emerged to compete with such symbolic portrayals, i.e. romance novels, popular films and television shows, not all of these works have displaced this earlier figural logic; in some cases, this logic has merely been updated. Explores the broader cultural implications of both types of narratives. Possible authors/texts: Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Ann Petry, Lillian Smith, Jack Kerouac, Frantz Fanon, Kara Walker, Amiri Baraka, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, John R. Gordon, Kim McLarin, Monster’s Ball, Far From Heaven, and Sex and the City.
Guy Mark Foster
Examines literary texts in which writers from the United States and Europe follow a well-worn literary dictum to “show rather than tell” narratives dramatizing the always complex, sometimes painful, but always endlessly challenging negotiations of intimate relationships. Throughout the term, students read a variety of literary works: from an Anton Chekhov play to short stories by Edwidge Danticat and Raymond Carver. Attention given to the impact on these narratives of historical and cultural shifts in race, gender, class, and sexual discourses.
“What To Do If Your Inner Tomboy Is a Homo: Straight Women, Bisexuality, and Pleasure in M/M Gay Romance Fictions.” (2015) Journal of Bisexuality. 15:4, 509-531. (PDF)
"The Rest of Us: Stories" (Lethe Press, 2013)
"African American Literature and Queer Studies: The Conundrum of James Baldwin." A Companion to African American Literature. Ed. Gene Andrew Jarett, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. (Access article in PDF)
"'Do I look like someone you can come home to from where you may be going?'" Re-mapping Interracial Desire in Octavia Butler's Kindred." African American Review 41.1 Spring 2007. (Access article in PDF)
"How Dare a Black Woman Make Love to a White Man! Black Women Romance Novelists and the Taboo of Interracial Desire." Empowerment versus Oppression: 21st Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally Goade, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007. (Access article in PDF)
"Desire and the 'Big Black Sex Cop': Race and the Politics of Intimacy on HBO's Six Feet Under" (The New Queer Aesthetic on Television: Essays on Recent Programming, Eds. James Keller & Leslie Stratyner, McFarland Publishers, 2006) (Access article in PDF)
Encyclopedia Entries: ZZ Packer and Robert Stepto. An Encyclopedia of African American Literature. Eds. Hans Ostrom and David Macey. Greenwood Press (forthcoming).
"Welcome to the Funhouse: Critical Theory and the 'Problem' of Interracial Sexuality." Review Essay of Black Venus: Sexualized Savages, Primal Fears, and Primitive Narratives in French (Duke UP, 1999), T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting. Radical Philosophy Review 2.2 (Winter, 1999): 10 pages. (Access article in PDF)
"This Man and Me." Ancestral House: The Black Short Story in The Americas and Europe. Ed. Charles H. Rowell (CO: Westview Press, 1995), Fiction. (Access article in PDF)
Review of Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbians: James Baldwin, Randall Kenan (Chelsea House Publishers, 1994). Lambda Book Report. March/April 1994.
Review of The Tranquil Lake of Love: Poems, Carl Cook (Vega Press, 1993). Lambda Book Report. September/October 1993.
"Legacy" and "Lasius Niger." Sojourner: Black Gay Voices in the Age of AIDS. Ed. B. Michael Hunter (NY: Other Countries Press, 1993), Fiction.
"The Book of Luke." Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men. Ed. Essex Hemphill (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1991), Fiction.
"Immortally Yours." Shadows of Love: American Gay Fiction. Ed. Charles Jurrist (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1988), Fiction.
Book project: "Waking Up with the Enemy: Postwar African American Literature and the Ethics of Interracial Intimacy"
Common Hour: The Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture: "Race Traitors and Their Critics: Unmasking Interracial Anxiety in Octavia Butler's Kindred"
Academic Spotlight: "Romance Novels Explore Racial Boundaries"