Location: Bowdoin / Guy Mark Foster


Guy Mark Foster

Associate Professor of English

Contact Information


Massachusetts Hall - 107

Teaching this semester

AFRS 2651/ENGL 2651/GSWS 2651. Queer Race

How does the concept of queerness signify in cultural texts that are ostensibly about the struggle for racial equality? And vice versa, how does the concept of racialization signify in cultural texts that are ostensibly about the struggle for LGBT recognition and justice? While some of this work tends to reduce queer to traditional sexual minorities like lesbigay and trans folk while downplaying racial considerations, others tend to limit the category race to people of color like blacks while downplaying questions about sexuality. Such critical and creative gestures often place queer and race in opposition rather than as intersecting phenomena. Students examine the theoretical and cultural assumptions of such gestures, and their implications, through close readings of selected works in both the LGBT and African American literary traditions.

AFRS 2654/ENGL 2004/GSWS 2257. White Negroes

Intermediate seminar. Close readings of literary and filmic texts that interrogate widespread beliefs in the fixity of racial categories and the broad assumptions these beliefs often engender. Investigates “whiteness” and “blackness” as unstable and fractured ideological constructs. These are constructs that, while socially and historically produced, are no less “real” in their tangible effects, whether internal or external. Includes works by Charles Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, John Howard Griffin, Andrea Lee, Sandra Bernhard, and Warren Beatty.

Teaching next semester

AFRS 2630/ENGL 2654/THTR 2854. Staging Blackness

Examines the history and contributions of African Americans to United States theater from the early blackface minstrel tradition, to the revolutionary theater of the Black Arts writers, to more recent postmodernist stage spectacles. Among other concerns, such works often dramatize the efforts of African Americans to negotiate ongoing tensions between individual needs and group demands that result from historically changing forms of racial marginalization. A particular goal is to highlight what Kimberly Benston has termed the expressive agency with which black writers and performers have imbued their theatrical presentations. Potential authors include Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ron Milner, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe, Anna Deavere Smith, Afro Pomo Homos, and August Wilson.

ENGL 1027. The Real Life of Literature

Examines literary fiction set against the backdrop of actual historical events, such as wars, social protest events, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Holocaust, and political assassinations. Students not only analyze the literary strategies writers employ to fictionalize history and to historicize fiction, but also explore the methodological and philosophical implications of such creative gestures. In the end, this two-fold process transforms both categories in ways that permanently unsettle the status of fiction as merely imaginative and the historical as merely fact. Potential authors: Virginia Woolf, Octavia Butler, Yasmina Khadra, David Mura, Nicole Krause, Andrew Holleran, among others.

Guy Mark Foster - Bowdoin College English Department


  • Ph.D. Brown University, English Literature, 2003
  • M.A. Brown University, English, 1997
  • B.A. Wheaton College, Writing and Literature, 1994

Areas of Interest

  • 20th Century American literature; African American Literature; Lesbian and Gay Literature; Interracial Narratives; Literary Memoirs; Queer Theory; Psychoanalytic Theory

“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. (PDFPDF)

The Rest of Us"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)

"Looking Good: Neutralizing the Desiring (Black Male) Gaze in Alice Walker's Meridian.Symbiosis 13.2 Special Issue October 2009. (Access article in PDF)

"Translating (Black) Queerness: Unpacking the Conceptual Linkages Between Racialized Masculinities, Consensual Sex, and the Practice of Torture." Souls 11.2 April 2009. (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.

Works in Progress

Book project: "Waking Up with the Enemy: Postwar African American Literature and the Ethics of Interracial Intimacy"