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Crossdressing Dansō

Negotiating between Stereotypical Femininity and Self-expression in Patriarchal Japan

Marta Fanasca

In this article, I focus on the childhood and adolescent life experiences of dansō (female-to-male crossdressers) who work as escorts in contemporary Japan, and on the process that led to their presentation of self as gendered masculine in their private and working lives. During their childhood and adolescence, dansō have to negotiate their identity and self-presentation to adhere to the gendered pressures of Japanese society. Through an analysis of interviews undertaken with 14 dansō informants, I explore dansō’s construction of a male identity before adulthood, highlighting the societal impositions they experienced and the coping strategies to which they resorted in order to create and maintain a space in which to express their queer selves.

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Siobhan B. Somerville

This article offers a first-person account of the author's experience teaching an undergraduate course on local queer culture, using her own campus as the site for primary research. The course asks how students might understand the role of Midwestern public universities in the production of queer culture. And how might such knowledge revise understandings of queer culture and its locations, both in the past and in the present? The author describes the course design, the goals of introducing undergraduate students to two scholarly methods (archival research and ethnography) and a number of original research projects undertaken by students.

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Revealing Hidden Aspects of Divinity in the 'Queer' Face

Towards a Jewish 'Queer' (Liberation) Theology

Judith Rosen-Berry

Emerging in the 1980s and flourishing during the 1990s ‘queer’ politics arrived as a reaction to what ‘queer’ activists and theorists identified as the narrow identity politics, rigid categories and separate groupings that had become associated with the lesbian and gay movements. In contrast to these rigid categories ‘queer’ politics proclaimed that all identities – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, even some heterosexual identities – could merge into a general ‘queerness’. The term ‘queer’ was understood then by many ‘queer’ activists and theorists in a very broad sense: referring not only to homosexuality and lesbianism but to everything that diverges from the ‘norm’. It became a response to mainstream hetero- normative/straight thinking of all kinds; its oppositional approach probably being best summed up in the slogan: ‘We’re here, we’re queer - get used to it!’ As sociologist Joshua Gamson wrote: ‘“Queer” does not so much rebel against outsider status, it revels in it’.

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Bodies, Boundaries and Queer Waters

Drowning and Prosopopæia in Later Dickens

Vybarr Cregan-Reid

The way in which the judgements of the landmark 1860 case Rylands v. Fletcher employed the English language to attempt some kind of clear notion of liability is representative of a much wider cultural anxiety over the status of water as a live, conscious and capriciously dangerous agent. I will suggest that the Victorians' emergent fear of wild and live water represents a kind of cultural imaginary that predetermines Dickens's use of prosopopoeic figurative language. The novels that I will draw upon, principally David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend, both take the trope of drowning as their focal rhetoric. Because the idea of water being embodied as a feral animal emerged around the 1850s, I will deploy some of Dickens's earlier work that uses the same trope of drowning, but in a more simplified way which envisioned water as the passive recipient of the drownee. As a result of the cultural idea of a live and conscious water, Dickens's later novels and journalism can be seen to be exploring an inherently queer notion of intersubjectivity; as the drownee meets their fate, their body's boundaries become permeable, they and the water which 'takes' them become intermingled. The water takes their life and it dissolves their identity. Dickens's later work and Rylands v. Fletcher both play their part in articulating this wider cultural anxiety and phenomenological presence of water as live monstrosity. Moreover, Dickens's use of water as embodied, raging and stampeding agent, raises some fascinating questions surrounding the taboo nature of gender, sexuality and subjectivity in Victorian culture.

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The Kids Are All Right But the Lesbians Aren't

The Illusion of Progress in Popular Film

Vicki L. Eaklor

The film The Kids Are All Right, centered on a lesbian couple and their two teenage children, was released in 2010 following a media blitz selling it as a groundbreaking film. Many queer viewers (like this author) eagerly awaited this supposed step forward in lesbian representation, only to be disappointed once again by mainstream stereotypes and tropes. This article takes a close look at the film against the backdrop of lesbian images and themes in “Hollywood“ films, particularly in the last twenty years, and argues that continuities, while sometimes more subtle, override the illusion of progress in portraying lesbians. Finally, there is speculation about why genuine change in mainstream film may be impossible under current societal and economic systems.

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Hadley Z. Renkin

Violent attacks on gay and lesbian activities in the public sphere, coupled with verbal aggression against sexual minorities by right-wing politicians in Hungary and other postsocialist countries, illustrate the centrality of sexuality in questions of postsocialist transition. This article discusses the limits of current scholarly interpretations of homophobia in postsocialist countries. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on LGBT activism in Hungary, it argues that by undertaking public projects that assert multiple forms of identity and community, LGBT people, although often portrayed as passive objects of the changing configurations of power of Hungary's transition, have raised a radical challenge to traditional imaginings of the boundaries between national and transnational meanings. It is this challenge—the proposal of a “queering” of belonging—to which right-wing, nationalist actors have responded with public violence.

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Allison Macleod

As I enter the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow for the opening night of the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF), two giant pink poodles (actually festival volunteers dressed as characters from the festival

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Transitions Within Queer North African Cinema

Nouri Bouzid, Abdellah Taïa, and the Transnational Tourist

Walter S. Temple

In recent years, North African queer cinema has become increasingly visible both within and beyond Arabo-Orientale spaces. A number of critical factors have contributed to a global awareness of queer identities in contemporary Maghrebi cinema

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Bath Houses

The Shared Space between Athens and Jerusalem

Lev Taylor

having religious significance, while Gamliel cannot reconcile the two. This challenges essentialist claims about Jewish positive attitudes towards bodies. Jakobsen observes that claims of Jewish body-positivism are undone somewhat in the cases of queer

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Rachel Adler

arguments would be about how to live a good life or what k’vod ha-briyyot , human dignity, is and how we can uphold it. What is shalom ? All these are the goods of our tradition. A new question feminist and queer Jews bring to this argument about goods is