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Intercultural Memories

Contesting Places, Spaces, and Stories


Edited By Ahmet Atay, Yea-Wen Chen and Alberto González

Collective remembering is an important way that communities name and make sense of the past. Places and stories about the past influence how communities remember the past, how they try to preserve it, or in some cases how they try to erase it. The research in this book offers key insights into how places and memories intersect with intercultural conflicts, oppressions, and struggles by which communities make sense of, deal with, and reconcile the past. The authors in this book examine fascinating stories from important sites—such as international commemorations of Korean “Comfort Women,” a film representation of the Stonewall Riots, and remembrances of the post-communist state in Albania. By utilizing various critical and cultural studies and ethnographic and narrative-based methods, each chapter examines cultural memory in intercultural encounters, everyday experiences, and identity performances that evoke collective memories of colonial pasts, immigration processes, and memories of places and spaces that are shaped by power structures and clashing ideologies. This book is essential reading for understanding the links between space/place and cultural memory, memories of nationally, and places constituted by markers of ethnicity, race, and sexuality. These readings are especially useful in courses in intercultural communication, cultural studies, international studies, and peace and conflict studies.
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6. Queer Fantasy: A Memory of Michael Sam’s Big Gay Kiss



University of New Mexico

In the evening of May 10, 2014, the ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programing Network) and NFL (National Football League) network broad-casted the last minutes of NFL’s draft. The first openly gay Black cisgender male football player Michael Sam from the University of Missouri was yet waiting to be drafted by a team. Sam’s draft received great media coverage because no other football players had been out as a gay man at the time of their NFL drafts. American football continues to represent manhood and masculinity through which the excessive displays of U.S. American nationalism are performed (Butterworth, 2008). Such nationalistic framing of masculinity that reinserts the superiority of cisheteronormativity almost always constructs the NFL players as cisgender and hyper-heterosexual regardless of their racial and ethnic backgrounds. As McCune (2014) reminds, “sexuality outside of heterosexuality is, still indeed, a taboo subject in American society. Sexual taboos undeniably facilitate and encourage comfort in more normative sexualities” (p. 28). Given this socio environment, there were some uncertainties around Sam’s possible draft because he was an out gay man. However, toward the end of draft, Sam received a phone call; the St. Louis Rams just drafted him. So, Sam immediately burst into tears as he had been waiting for this news for last two days. Then, Sam suddenly moved to kiss his cisgendered White male boyfriend Vito Cammisano in front of camera.1

Not long after Sam’s big gay kiss scene...

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