McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Transgender studies, queer theory, postcolonial studies, archives, twentieth century, twenty-first century, American, literature, the novel, poetry
This project takes a cross-disciplinary and multi-genre approach to Transgender (Trans*) Studies to proliferate diverse and ambiguously-gendered representations of trans* experiences across time. It identifies the emergence of rhetorical intertextuality in recent trans* literatures as a discursive response to the biopolitical regulation and erasure of ambiguously-gendered, trans* experiences. It identifies the intersecting influences of twentieth- and twenty-first-century medical paradigms, surveillance apparatuses, popular trans* autobiographies, and archives in representing and exceptionalizing certain trans* experiences over others. In contrast, this project engages in a close reading of Pajtim Statovci’s Crossing (2016) and Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (2017) to demonstrate the effectiveness of rhetorical intertextuality in representing diverse, gender-transing populations who negotiate a productive tension between compliance and resistance. Though this project recognizes the trans* community’s desire for access to trans* histories, it critiques the use of dominant, third-gender rubrics and reads Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater (2018) and Kai Cheng Thom’s Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars (2016) and A Place Called No Homeland (2017) to argue for an increased attention to cultural specificity in the discourse. This project then uses a strategic essentialism of trans* identity as a heuristic for accessing strategically trans* histories in the West through a close reading of Charlotte Charke’s autobiography, which bridges contemporary trans* readers with the eighteenth-century experiences of passing women and female husbands. Finally, this project articulates the use of rhetorical intertextuality in fomenting interventionist approaches to the archive through a close reading of Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox (2018).
Jack, J. (2022). Without Permanence: Mapping Multi-Genre, Cross-Disciplinary Frameworks for Trans* Studies (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/2192