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Sexing Farina: Our Gang's Episodes of Racial Childhood

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


By examining the episodically shiting gender of the character Farina in Hal Roach's Our Gang series, this article argues that the integrationist fantasy Roach offered depended on a strategy for representing black children that shows the speciically temporal limits to popular entertainment's ability to imagine black adolescence in the early twentieth century. he two prevailing views of the series—Our Gang as integrationist and Our Gang as mired in racist stereotypes—are not exclusive but mutually constitutive, and the tie that binds the two is the strange pleasure audiences found in the black child whose gender changed. By attending to the fact that the integration in the series happened in relation to black boys in particular, we can see Our Gang's episodic treatment of Farina as a formal response to national anxieties about black masculinity and racialized sexuality.

Research Article
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2018

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