The Sense of Brown

The Sense of Brown

Book Pages: 224 Illustrations: 14 illustrations Published: October 2020

American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, Theater and Performance

The Sense of Brown, which he was completing at the time of his death, is José Esteban Muñoz's treatise on brownness and being as well as his most direct address to queer Latinx studies. Muñoz examines the work of playwrights Ricardo Bracho and Nilo Cruz, artists Nao Bustamante, Isaac Julien, and Tania Bruguera, and singer José Feliciano, among others, arguing for a sense of brownness that is not fixed within the racial and national contours of Latinidad. This sense of brown is not about the individualized brown subject; rather, it demonstrates that for brown peoples, being exists within what Muñoz calls the brown commons—a lifeworld, queer ecology, and a form of collectivity. In analyzing minoritarian affect, ethnicity as a structure of feeling, and brown feelings as they emerge in, through, and beside art and performance, Muñoz illustrates how the sense of brown serves as the basis for other ways of knowing and being in the world.


“The final work of José Esteban Muñoz—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


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

José Esteban Muñoz (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.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Editors' Introduction. The Aesthetic Resonance of Brown / Joshua Chambers-Letson and Tavia Nyong'o
1. The Browns Commons
2. Feeling Brown: Ethnicity and Affect in Ricardo Bracho's The Sweetest Hangover (and Other STDs)
3. The Onus of Seeing Cuba: Nilo Cruz's Cubanía
4. Meandering South: Isaac Julien and The Long Road to Mazatlán
5. "Chico, What Does It Feel Like to Be a Problem?": The Transmission of Brownness
6. The Vulnerability Artist: Nao Bustamante and the Sad Beauty of Reparation
7. Queer Theater, Queer Theory: Luis Alfaro's Cuerpo Polizado
8. Performing the Bestiary: Carmelita Tropicana's With What Ass Does the Cockroach Sit?/ Con Que Culo se Sienta la Cucaracha?
9. Performing Greater Cuba: Tania Bruguera and the Burden of Guilt
10. Wise Latinas
11. Brown Worldings: José Rodríguez-Soltero, Tania Bruguera, and María Irene Fornés
12. The Sense of Wildness: The Brown Commons after Paris Burning
13. Vitalism's Afterburn: The Sense of Ana Mendieta
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1103-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0997-9