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LGBTQIA+ Speaker Series: “The girl who should have been a boy”
October 20, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Join QCAPS and the LGBTQ Center for the October LGBTQIA+ Speaker Series event. Rachel Warner (she/her) will present “The girl who should have been a boy”: Female Masculinity in Modernist American Literature & Culture.
The title of this talk is taken from Djuna Barnes’ landmark novel in queer and trans studies, Nightwood (1936). It describes the central character and symbol of unattainable desire, the boyish “female invert” Robin Vote. Similar to Robin, the collection of robust, ruddy-faced pioneer women and tuxedo-wearing butch blues performers gathered here attest to the diversity of significations that accrued to representations of masculine women in the modernist period. Such figures may thus be said to ‘trans’ gender, or disrupt the naturalized connections among gender identity, sexed embodiment and social gender roles. Though Susan Stryker’s foundational work in transgender studies attests to a certain irreducible ‘postmodernity’ to trans* identities, this project implicitly argues for the centering of cultural formations of female masculinity to studies of American modernism.
Rachel Warner is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.