Alfred L. Martin, Jr.

Apr 27, 2021

The Generic Closet

Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom

Indiana University Press 2021

How do race and sexuality intersect in the American sitcom? In The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom (Indiana University Press, 2021) Alfred L Martin, an assistant professor of communication studies at The University of Iowa, explores the production and reception of Black-cast sitcoms, along with a detailed analysis of the representations of gay men within this genre. At the centre of the book is a theorisation of the generic closet, both as a way to explain the absence of nuanced and complex representations of Black gay men on screen, and to account for the limited, decentred, and peripheral place offered to Black gay men in the Black-cast sitcom. Offering detailed engagement with the history and political economy of television, along with insights into writers’ rooms, production decisions, and audience responses, the book is essential reading across humanities and social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in understanding contemporary culture.

Dave O'Brien is Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Edinburgh's College of Art.

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