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The Sense of Brown (Perverse Modernities


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Editors' Introduction. The Aesthetic Resonance of Brown / Joshua Chambers-Letson and Tavia Nyong'o ix
1. The Browns Commons 1
2. Feeling Brown: Ethnicity and Affect in Ricardo Bracho's The Sweetest Hangover (and Other STDs) 8
3. The Onus of Seeing Cuba: Nilo Cruz's Cubania 24
4. Meandering South: Isaac Julien and The Long Road to Mazatlan 29
5. "Chico, What Does It Feel Like to Be a Problem?": The Transmission of Brownness 36
6. The Vulnerability Artist: Nao Bustamante and the Sad Beauty of Reparation 47
7. Queer Theater, Queer Theory: Luis Alfaro's Cuerpo Polizado 59
8. Performing the Bestiary: Carmelita Tropicana's With What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit?/ Con Que Culo se Sienta la Cucaracha? 78
9. Performing Greater Cuba: Tania Bruguera and the Burden of Guilt 86
10. Wise Latinas 100
11. Brown Worldings: Jose Rodriguez-Soltero, Tania Bruguera, and Maria Irene Fornes 118
12. The Sense of Wildness: The Brown Commons after Paris Burned 128
13. Vitalism's Afterburn: The Sense of Ana Mendieta 141
Notes 151
Bibliography 167
Index 175

About the Author

Jose Esteban Munoz (1967-2013) was Professor of Performance Studies at New York University and author of Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity and Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics.

Joshua Chambers-Letson is Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

Tavia Nyong'o is Professor of American Studies, African American Studies, and Theater and Performance Studies at Yale University.


"The final work of Jose Esteban Munoz-scholar, mentor, and precious node in an intergenerational and transnational web of intellectual and social relations-will be received with eager enthusiasm and a box of tissues." -- Juana Maria Rodriguez, author of * Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings *
"In The Sense of Brown, Jose Esteban Munoz maps and grapples with an evolving theory and method of feeling and being in the world that he names brown. In this work, brownness 'is already here, . . . vast, present, and vital.' Munoz gives his theory 'historically specific affective particularity,' rejecting the abjective. Read on their own and in tandem with Munoz's earlier works, these thirteen essays written with care and a sense of urgency outlive his too-soon passing. Lovingly edited, they are a gift." -- Christina Sharpe, author of * In the Wake: On Blackness and Being *
"Conceptualizing Latinx studies within the terms Munoz offers, those of affect, aesthetics, and performance, gives way for more room in which to construct a Latinx studies that seeks to counter anti-blackness and anti-indigeneity, assimilationism, settler nation-state borders and boundaries, language essentialisms, and other settler colonial logics which merely reify the power structures perpetuating global precarity, exploitation, violence, and death." -- Marcos Gonsalez * ASAP/Journal *
"The Sense of Brown is a classic academic work, so it has a density that requires effort to parse through, but it's well worth the read. In this book, Munoz examines how brownness, particularly for queer Latinx people, becomes a 'lifeworld' that reveals itself through performance of all kinds, including plays, films, and albums. If you loved his prior work, then The Sense of Brown serves as a perfect ending-both putting a bow on his scholarship and creating pathways for those who want to further it." -- Evette Dionne * Bitch Magazine *
"The book is his most pointed intervention into Latinx studies and the contradictions of Latinx racializations, and it represents the work of nearly two decades, done alongside and around two books and over a dozen essays and lectures. . . . As students, friends, and readers, we meet The Sense of Brown, finally, as a consolation in the midst of a global crisis that's paradoxically lonely and chaotically social."
-- Roy Perez * Los Angeles Review of Books *
"Offers ... startling moments of insight and ... profound intellectual generosity." -- Jane Hu * Bookforum *
"Expertly edited after his passing by Joshua Chambers-Letson and Tavia Nyong'o, The Sense of Brown is Munoz's final work, and it's a true testament to an intersectional project that suggests that 'queerness is in the horizon, forward dawning and not-yet-here. Brownness diverges from my definition of queerness. Brownness is already here.'" -- Maximiliano Duron * ARTnews *
"With The Sense of Brown, Jose Esteban Munoz left a love-letter to brownness that acts as a dream for its desire. Extending to the minerals of the soil, to the animals, and to the people who bare its shade, it is an ode to a brown of rapturous multiplicity. . . [T]his book and Munoz's thoughts remain an arsenal full for any minoritarian subject who desires to understand and even love themselves, and their sense of being, more-a radical proposition." -- Jess Saldana * Lambda Literary Review *
"The Sense of Brown is more than a sketch of brownness as an ontology of relations; it is an opportunity to sit inside Munoz's writing and thinking space, an almost wistful feeling of being in his thoughts as they formed, as they firmed. Reading Munoz's essays invokes a meditative feeling; one gets a sense that Munoz was reflecting on his ideas, the drafty in/coherence of this ensemble reveal the essay as process. The essays are inviting, soft and melancholic." -- Moon Charania * Society and Space *

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