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Fanfic’ing Film

Queer Youth Cinema Reclaims Pop Culture

Andrew Scahill

Fairy Tales Film Festival 2018, Calgary Queer Arts Society, Youth Queer Media Program

For the study of youth in cinema, we, as scholars, must always remind ourselves that most images we analyze are created by adults representing youth, not by youth representing themselves. As such, they represent an idea of youth—a memory, a trauma, a wish. They are stories these adults tell themselves about what they need youth to be in that moment. Coming out becomes the singular narrative of queer youth, and positions adulthood as a safe and stable destination after escaping the traumatic space of adolescence. The stories in these films provide important moments for adult queers to “feel backward” (2009: 7) as Heather Love says, and to process the pain of a queer childhood. And for young people exploring their sexuality, these stories are essential for at-risk youth who feel hopeless, trapped, or alone.

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"Shaped Like an Anchor"

Trans Sailors and Cultures of Resistance

Marty Fink

Looking to queer and trans cultural texts from DIY zines to classic queer literature to contemporary experimental cinema, this article considers how sailors represent boyhood as a trangressive embodiment that reworks masculinities and processes of representation. By locating the youthful transmasculine body as a representational norm, queer/trans films like Maggots and Men (2009) create spaces through which sailors reshape meanings assigned to maleness, boys, and men. A linked analysis of Micah Bazant’s self-published Timtum (1999) and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (1956) raises further questions about the signs and codes of sailors and postadolescent boyhood in opening up new embodiments for gender non-conforming adults. Investigating how trans sailors become icons of youthful nostalgia and queer masculinities, this paper also questions correlations between sailors and Whiteness, boyhood, colonialism, migration and race.

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I’m No Princess

Super Hero Girls Together

Lucy I. Baker

DC Super Hero Girls (DCSHG) is a trans-media franchise that includes not just screen media texts but a wide array of themed merchandise aimed at a multi-generational market. I argue here that key components of the franchise present a queered version of girlhood that critiques femininity as a gender role while presenting femaleness as encompassing a variety of signifiers, acts, and presentations that can be read as queer (particularly by the so-called big girls in the audience). This is evident in the representation of queer relationships that exist in the sexualized zone of the canonical material, allowing the DCSHG characters to inhabit a liminal proto-queer space between homosocial/gender non-conforming and lesbian that is considered more appropriate for young girls. I examine the way in which the DC Super Hero Girls franchise rejects and reforms familiar elements of comics, super heroism, and princess culture to create that space for girls.

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Repetitions of Desire

Queering the One Direction Fangirl

Hannah McCann and Clare Southerton

Like other fangirls, fans of former boyband One Direction (“Directioners”) have often been represented in media discourse as obsessive and hysterical, with fan behaviour interpreted as longing for heterosexual intimacy with band members. Subverting this heteronormative framing, a group of Directioners known as “Larries” have built a sub-fandom around imagining a relationship (“ship”) between two of the band members, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. Representation of the Larry fandom has gone beyond pathologizing fangirls to framing their shipping practice in terms of “fake news.” The conspiracy theory panic around Larries misses the complex ways that subtext and queer reading are mobilized within the fandom to invoke feelings of queer intimacy and belonging. Drawing on a digital ethnography conducted on Twitter with Larries, we argue that these fans engage in queer reading strategies to explicitly imagine and interrupt dominant heterosexual narratives, and thus queer the figure of the fangirl.

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Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni, and George Wu Bayuga

empowering the individual against societal boundaries and violence. Dafne Accoroni Université de Lyon WILCOX, Melissa M., Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody , 336 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018

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Han Tao and Sevasti-Melissa Nolas

Queer/Tongzhi China: New Perspectives on Research, Activism and Media Cultures

Elisabeth L. Engebretsen and William F. Schroeder (eds.) with Hongwei Bao, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2015, ISBN 978-877-694-155-0, 274 pp., Hb: £60, Pb: £20.

Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China

Hongwei Bao, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2018, ISBN 978-87-7694-236-6, 265 pp., Hb: £65, Pb: £22.50.

White Gold: Stories of Breast Milk Sharing

Susan Falls, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4962-0189-8. 242 pp., Hb: $65, Pb: $25.

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Interiors

Sex and the Body in Dickens

William A. Cohen

Not so long ago, the topic of Dickens and sex might have seemed entirely entailed by Foucault's inquires in the first volume of the History of Sexuality. In that work, Foucault argues that sex is not a biological donnée but is instead an effect of discourse, a culturally variable vehicle for the exercise of power in many different directions. Emerging out of Foucault's studies of social institutions such as prisons and madhouses, the History of Sexuality emphasises the disciplinary imperative of sexual knowledges; it argues that individual subjects internalise surveillance mechanisms, experiencing them through and as their sexuality. One of the beneficiaries of the Foucauldian paradigm, which dominated Victorian literary studies from the late 1980s until recently, was queer theory. Queer theory interrogates rather than presuming identity categories (such as homosexual, lesbian and gay), but it has always sat in an uneasy relation to identity politics, simultaneously relying on and deconstructing stable notions of gender and sexual identity. Some critics have employed queer theory to discover lesbian, gay or queer characters and practices in Victorian literature (not to mention finding more properly nineteenth-century types, such as the hysteric, the onanist and the sodomite). Such projects have often understood the function of sexual representation as part of modernity's more general disciplinary structure.

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Introduction

Dickens and Sex

Holly Furneaux and Anne Schwan

This collection explores the still underrepresented topics of sex, erotics and desire in the work of Charles Dickens. Contributors draw upon and suggest new points of convergence between a wide range of theoretical perspectives including cultural phenomenology, materialism, new historicism, critical race studies, feminist and queer theory. Analysis of a broad range of Dickens’s fiction, journalism and correspondence demonstrates Dickens’s sustained commitment to exploring a diverse range of sexual matters throughout his career.

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A. Anthony, Tess S. Skadegård Thorsen, Steen Ledet Christiansen, and Carmela Garritano

Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton, eds., Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017), 419 pp. ISBN: 9780262036603 (hardback, $49.95)

Katharina Lindner, Film Bodies: Queer Feminist Encounters with Gender and Sexuality in Cinema (London: I. B. Tauris, 2018), 272 pp. ISBN: 9781784536244 (hardback, £72)

Saige Walton, Cinema’s Baroque Flesh: Film, Phenomenology, and the Art of Entanglement (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016), 280 pp. ISBN 978 90 8964 951 5 (hardback, €95)

Marietta Kesting, Affective Images: Post-apartheid Documentary Perspectives (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2017). vi +278pp. ISBN: 9781438467856 (hardback, $95); ISBN: 9781438467849 (paperback, $29.95)

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Paul Walker

This article explores interactions with difference, highlighting what I call the “generosity paradox,” a term that refers to how we suspend disbelief and certainty in favor of a constructed potentiality not limited by preexistent knowledge or categories of authenticity and legitimacy. Touching on overlapping concepts from rhetoric, philosophy, gender studies, disability studies, and queer theory, the discussion explicates fictional encounters with radical alterity in the film Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) to show that attempted respite from frustrating, confusing, and frightening interactions limits our voice, undermines difference, and favors a unifying persuasive intent, which more likely than not involves an attempt to change Others rather than allowing our mutual differences to generatively remain.