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Panel Discussion on Alfred Martin’s book, “The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom”

April 15, 2021 @ 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm CDT

Join the Department of Radio-Television-Film for a panel discussion over zoom on Dr. Alfred L. Martin Jr.’s new book, The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom (University of Indiana Press).

The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom examines the tensions related to Black gay television representation by examining the sites where meaning is/can be made: production, post-production, and audience reception. Using case studies from five Black-cast sitcoms, Martin argues that the Black-cast sitcom is industrially imagined as a representation of a set of monolithically held Black conservative ideologies with respect to sexuality, which structures how the genre engages with Black gayness. It is not that Black viewers are necessarily anti-gay; it is that the media industries imagine them as such. The Generic Closet examines the socio-industrial context from which these Black-cast sitcoms emerge, the placement and use of the laugh track, the production of Black gay images via interviews with episode writers and series showrunners, and audience reception via interviews with 25 Black gay men. Ultimately, The Generic Closet exposes how Black gayness, Black audience imaginations and the machinations of the media industries converge to shape and re-shape Black viewers as homophobic.

Alfred L. Martin, Jr. is Assistant Professor of media studies at the University of Iowa. Martin is a media and cultural studies scholar whose work is concerned with the complex interplay between media industry studies and audience/fandom studies as related to television and film studies, critical black studies, sexuality and gender studies.

• Dr. Alfred L. Martin Jr., Author, Assistant Professor of Media Studies, University of Iowa
• Dr. Mary Beltrán, Associate Professor, Department of Radio-Television-Film
• Dr. Curran Nault, Assistant Professor, Department of Radio-Television-Film
• Dr. Adrien Sebro, Assistant Professor, Department of Radio-Television-Film
• Ash Kinney d’Harcourt, PhD Student, Department of Radio-Television-Film


April 15, 2021
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm CDT
Event Category:


Target Audience
Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students, General Public
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Film, Media

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