Aberrations in Black tells the story of canonical sociology's regulation of sexual difference as part of its general regulation of African American culture. Ferguson places this story within other stories-the narrative of capital's emergence and development, the histories of Marxism and revolutionary nationalism, and the novels that depict the gendered and sexual idiosyncrasies of African American culture-works by Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Toni Morrison. In turn, this book tries to present another story-one in which people who presumably manifest the dysfunctions of capitalism are reconsidered as indictments of the norms of state, capital, and social science. Ferguson includes the first-ever discussion of a new archival discovery-a never-published chapter of Invisible Man that deals with a gay character in a way that complicates and illuminates Ellison's project.
Unique in the way it situates critiques of race, gender, and sexuality within analyses of cultural, economic, and epistemological formations, Ferguson's work introduces a new mode of discourse-which Ferguson calls queer of color analysis-that helps to lay bare the mutual distortions of racial, economic, and sexual portrayals within sociology.
Roderick A. Ferguson is assistant professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota.