Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-13-2022


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Linda Kinnahan

Committee Member

Laura Engel

Committee Member

Lanei Rodemeyer


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).