Richard A. Kaye, associate professor of English at Hunter College in New York, writes about a new and rather unknown research area - Bear studies.
- Oh, by the way, in addition to 19th century American literature, I work on bear studies, a candidate for an academic position once said.
- Bear studies? Do you mean bears in literature — say, William Faulkner's story 'The Bear', the interlocutors asked.
NO! By "bear studies," he meant an area of academic research that explored "the subculture of hirsute, usually heavy-set gay men" — burly guys who identify with a masculine style and who shun the popular image of homosexual guys as smooth, hairless, Calvin-Klein-ish blond young men.
"What fascinates these scholars is that self-identified bears have created a kind of counterculture, with its own language, values and rituals", he writes.