Sissy Insurgencies: A Racial Anatomy of Unfit Manliness (Duke University Press, 2022) by Marlon B. Ross focuses on the figure of the sissy in order to rethink how Americans have imagined, articulated, and negotiated manhood and boyhood from the 1880s to the present. Rather than collapsing sissiness into homosexuality, Ross shows how it constitutes a historically fluid range of gender practices that are expressed as a physical manifestation, discursive epithet, social identity, and political phenomenon. He reconsiders several black leaders, intellectuals, musicians, and athletes within the context of sissiness, from Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, and James Baldwin to Little Richard, Amiri Baraka, and Wilt Chamberlain. Demonstrating that sissiness can be embraced and exploited to conform to American gender norms or disrupt racialized patriarchy, he also shows how it constitutes a central element in modern understandings of race and gender.
Dr. Marlon B. Ross is professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 2001. Before that, he was professor of English and African American & African Studies at the University of Michigan. His interests include a variety of fields related to race, gender, sexuality, and culture. He is also the author of Manning the Race: Reforming Black Men in the Jim Crow Era and The Contours of Masculine Desire: Romanticism and the Rise of Women's Poetry.
Isabel Machado is a cultural historian whose work often crosses national and disciplinary boundaries.