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Queer constructions /queer disruptions: Interventions into identity and representation in contemporary queer *literature and film

Melissa Rigney, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation examines ways in which contemporary queer literature and film reinvents and reconfigures the constructed boundaries, discourses, and silences of the queer body in terms of gender and sexuality constructing what de Lauretis refers to as an alternate “discursive horizon” (iv). Specifically, I examine ways in which contemporary writers and filmmakers attempt to map the concept of transgender in terms of bodies, genders, and sexualities. Texts examined include the film Boys Don't Cry by director Kimberly Pierce, essays by lesbian activists Amber Hollibaugh and Joan Nestle, the novels of British writer Jeanette Winterson, the independent and autobiographical films of Sadie Benning, and the novels of Frankie Hucklenbroich and Leslie Feinberg. What emerges is an examination of the diversity of queer resistance to heteronormativity and the ways in which this resistance in turn shapes transgressive identities and sexualities. While this dissertation is divided into two conceptual areas, constructions and disruptions, this is not indicative of a literal division. All of the texts discussed demonstrate the possibilities for agency, in one way or another, to simultaneously disrupt normative concepts of gender and sexuality while constructing and naming queer genders and queer sexualities, ones that do not fit within the hetero-homo binary. ^

Subject Area

Literature, American|Literature, English|Cinema

Recommended Citation

Rigney, Melissa, "Queer constructions /queer disruptions: Interventions into identity and representation in contemporary queer *literature and film" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3116604.