Queer Representation, Visibility, and Race in American Film and Television: Screening the Closet, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Queer Representation, Visibility, and Race in American Film and Television

Screening the Closet, 1st Edition

By Melanie Kohnen


182 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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This book traces the uneven history of queer media visibility through crucial turning points including the Hollywood Production Code era, the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, the so-called explosion of gay visibility on television during the1990s, and the re-imagination of queer representations on TV after the events of 9/11. Kohnen intervenes in previous academic and popular accounts that paint the increase in queer visibility over the past four decades as a largely progressive development. She examines how and why a limited and limiting concept of queer visibility structured around white gay and lesbian characters in committed relationships has become the embodiment of progressive LGBT media representations. She also investigates queer visibility across film, TV, and print media, and highlights previously unexplored connections, such as the lingering traces of classical Hollywood cinema's queer tropes in the X-Men franchise. Across all chapters, narratives and arguments emerge that demonstrate how queer visibility shapes and reflects not only media representations, but the real and imagined geographies, histories, and people of the American nation.

Table of Contents


1. All That Visibility Allows, or Mapping Queer Visibility

2.Visions of History: Queerness and Race in Hollywood Cinema from the Production Code to X-Men

3. Towards the 'Gay 90s:' Redefining Queer Visibility through the Lens of AIDS

4: Outside Space and Time: Screening Queerness in Brokeback Mountain and Boys Don't Cry

5: Kevin and Scotty Get Married (And Hardly Anyone is Watching): Queer Visibility, Privacy, and the Boundaries of Everyday Life on Television

Concluding Remarks

About the Author

Melanie E.S. Kohnen is Visiting Assistant Professor at New York University, USA. Her research focuses on the contemporary media industry and cultural diversity. Her previous work has appeared in Journal of Popular Television, Creative Industries, and the essay collections Teen Television and Future Texts: Subversive Performance and Feminist Bodies.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies

Cultural and media studies are now well-established as important academic disciplines and are inspiring new research into a wide range of pertinent issues. This series presents outstanding research in these subjects, helping to shape the direction of future inquiry.


To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies
[email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Lesbian Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies