Elizabeth F. Emens • 23 Dec 2011
Russell Robinson has done it again. With Masculinity as Prison: Sexual Identity, Race, and Incarceration, he has given us another provocative Article, which illuminates a phenomenon in the world and, indirectly, in ourselves.The Article represents much of what generally makes Robinson’s work so compelling. First, he writes about tremendously complex subjects and attends to their many complexities in remarkably lucid prose. Second, despite his critical perspective, he does not hesitate to make prescriptive arguments. In this Article, he even ventures into the hallowed ground of constitutional argument, something he has not done since his first article on race-based casting. Third, Robinson is not afraid to offend people by taking controversial positions, yet for the most part he does not seem to court controversy. Finally, he manages to bridge multiple modes of scholarly writing, employing diverse methodologies to analyze problems rigorously and to transform readers’ perspectives along the way. For example, Robinson often brings together empirical scholarship- whether extant social science data or his own empirical investigations-with narrative legal scholarship. Although this Article omits the personal narratives that sometimes characterize his writing, it is replete with evocative material from the characters he interviewed.