CSI Professor David A. Gerstner’s book, Queer Pollen: White Seduction, Black Male Homosexuality, and the Cinematic, was named one of Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries’ Outstanding Academic Titles in its January 2012 issue.
Each year in the January issue, Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed the previous calendar year. The prestigious list is quite selective, containing only ten percent of approximately 7,000 works reviewed in Choice each year. Queer Pollen: White Seduction, Black Male Homosexuality, and the Cinematic was honored due to its overall excellence in presentation and scholarship, importance relative to other literature in the field, and its value to undergraduates, as well as many other criteria.
Queer Pollen, Professor Gerstner’s fourth book, discusses three notable Black queer 20th century artists—painter and writer Richard Bruce Nugent, author James Baldwin, and filmmaker Marlon Riggs—and the unique ways they turned to various media to work through their experiences living as queer Black men. The book explores the complexity of these three men as they made their art, facing the challenge, not only of being Black in a racist society, but also gay in a homophobic society. As stated on the University of Illinois Press Website, “Gerstner elucidates the complexities in expressing queer black desire through traditional art forms such as painting, poetry, and literary prose, or in the industrial medium of cinema.”
Gerstner aims to place the three artists within their cultural identity and to establish their complicated relationships with the White culture that seduced them. “I wanted these three men to occupy a certain place in the discussion of Black male sexuality and their contribution to American art.” Gerstner said.
Gerstner, who is an avid reader of James Baldwin, discusses how it was important for those three artists in his book to have participated in a range of arts. “Any good artist has cross-aesthetic interests,” Gerstner said. He went on to say that “Baldwin would not be as interesting if he did not have the capacity to move through different disciplines.”
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries is the premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education. More than 35,000 librarians, faculty, and key decision-makers rely on Choice magazine and Choice Reviews Online for collection development and scholarly research. Choice reaches almost every undergraduate college and university library in the United States.
David A. Gerstner is a Professor of Cinema Studies at the College of Staten Island and the CUNY Graduate Center. His books include Queer Pollen: White Seduction, Black Male Homosexuality, and the Cinematic; Manly Arts: Masculinity and Nation in Early American Cinema; The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture (editor); and Authorship and Film (co-editor). His essays appear in several anthologies and journals.