Between Camp and Cursi

Humor and Homosexuality in Contemporary Mexican Narrative

By Brandon P. Bisbey

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Literary Criticism, Queer Studies, Lesbian / Gay Studies, Gender Studies
Series: SUNY series, Genders in the Global South
Hardcover : 9781438486659, 252 pages, January 2022
Paperback : 9781438486666, 252 pages, July 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


1. The Other Mexican Revolution: Camp and Cursilería in the Queer Self-Construction of Salvador Novo

2. Homosexuales de corazón: Humor, Homophobia, and How to be a Man at the End of the 20th Century

3. Dressing the Part: Literary Portrayals of Travestis, Locas, Vestidas, and Jotas

4. Having Your Cake and Eating It Too: Bisexual Bildungsromane from Dismodern Mexico

5. Machorra Camp and Lesbian Cursilería: Sexuality, Gender, and Humor in Narratives by and about Queer Women


Works Cited

Examines how contemporary Mexican literature uses humor to contest heteronormativity.


Between Camp and Cursi examines the role of humor in portrayals of homosexuality in contemporary Mexican literature. Brandon P. Bisbey argues that humor based on camp and cursilería—a form of "bad taste" that expresses a sense of social marginalization—is used to represent key social conflicts and contradictions of modernity in Mexico. Combining perspectives from queer theory, humor theory, and Latin American cultural studies, Bisbey looks at a corpus of canonical and lesser-known texts that treat a range of topics relevant to contemporary discussions of gender, sexuality, race, and human rights in Mexico—including sex work, transvestitism, bisexuality, same-sex marriage, racism, classism, and homophobic and transphobic violence. Emphasizing the subversive possibilities of the comic, Between Camp and Cursi considers how this body of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature has challenged heteronormativity in Mexico and wrestled more broadly with both the colonial underpinnings of modernity and hegemonic Western gender norms.

Brandon P. Bisbey is Associate Professor of Spanish and Coordinator of Latina/o and Latin American Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.


"Between Camp and Cursi is a welcome addition to the study of a branch of Mexican literature that has been neglected over the years. Brandon Bisbey dissects with an expert hand these narratives and amply demonstrates the rich variety of the gay experience in Mexico and the desire of authors to engage with and challenge homosexual and lesbian stereotypes with camp and cursi humor … Students at all levels of university will find this book full of rich insight and solid arguments that will broaden their understanding of issues of homosexuality as they have slowly emerged in a country known for its homophobia and machismo." — Hispania

"Between Camp and Cursi explores an area of study—humor—that demands further research in contemporary Mexican literature. Bisbey's analysis blends together an eclectic yet coherent mix of texts and is sure to be attractive to a wide variety of readers in Mexican literary and cultural studies, Latin American studies, and gender and sexuality studies." — Vinodh Venkatesh, author of Capitán Latinoamérica: Superheroes in Cinema, Television, and Web Series