Performing Race and Masculinity in Brazil's Sexual Economy
University of Chicago 2015
New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network March 13, 2017 Taylor Fox-Smith
Moving through the saunas of Rio de Janeiro, the Amazonian eco-resorts of Manaus, and the Afro-Brazilian heritage of Bahia, Tourist Attractions: Performing Race and Masculinity in Brazils Sexual Economy (University of Chicago Press, 2015) explores sex as an epistemology – a way of knowing. The ethnographic, theoretical and prosaic prowess of Assistant Professor Gregory Mitchell captures the individual experiences and identities of male sex workers and their transnational clients. Delving into the complex and refractive affective flows that attempt to make desire legible – across culture, race and sexuality – Tourist Attractions proposes that sex work be reframed as a form of performative labor. Exploring how affect and labour shape the performance of masculinity, Mitchell makes a robust contribution to ideas of queer kinship, authenticity and cultural memory. It follows that the conceptual depth of Tourist Attractions is also met by the contextual breadth of its subject matter – from the influence of political economic considerations, to the missionary agenda of gay rights rhetoric, to the metonymic role of the body in heritage tourism and ecotourism. The reader cannot but help become an enthralled audience member to the social choreography that Mitchell observes, navigating the culturally specific affects of individual sexual exchanges and cross-continental tourism.
Taylor Fox-Smith is teaching gender studies at Macquarie University and researching the gender gap in political behaviour and psychology at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney, Australia. Having received a Bachelor of International and Global Studies with first class Honours in American Studies at the University of Sydney, Taylor was awarded the American Studies Best Thesis Award for her work titled The Lemonade Nexus. The thesis uses the theme of marital infidelity in Beyonce’s 2016 visual album Lemonade as a popular cultural narrative of institutional betrayal, and parallels it with police brutality in Baltimore city. It argues that the album provides an alternative model of political formation which can help to understand redemption in the wake of an urban uprising. Rewriting the traditional protest to politics narrative with an iterative nexus named after the album, Taylor’s research continues to straddle political science, gender studies and popular culture.