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Not Gay: The Homosexual Ingredient in the Making of Straight White Men

Dr. Jane Ward (UC Riverside)

Thu, February 25, 2016 | Glickman Conference Center (CLA 1.302B)

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Jane Ward
Jane Ward

Although the U.S. media has recently been abuzz with commentary about heteroflexibility, most accounts have focused on “girls who kiss girls” for the pleasure of male spectators, or men of color “on the down low” who are presumed to be gay and in the closet.  But where do white men—the dominant culture’s most normalized and idealized figures—fit in to these narratives? In this talk, Ward traces narratives about straight white men’s homosexual encounters across three sites—the United States military, online personal ads, and popular culture—illustrating the unique ways that whiteness and masculinity converge to circumvent the pathologizing gaze of popular science, the gaze applied to men of color. Taking sex between straight white men as its point of departure, Ward’s project offers a new way to think about heterosexuality—not as the opposite or absence of homosexuality, but as its own unique mode of engaging homosexual sex, a mode characterized by pretense, disidentification and racialized heteronormative investments.



Jane Ward is Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California Riverside. She is the author of Respectably Queer (Vanderbilt University Press, 2008), as well as several articles on queer politics, whiteness, heterosexuality, and, most recently, queer motherhood.  She teaches courses in feminist and queer studies.

Sponsored by: CWGS

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