Ocular demonstrations: cross-dressing and the body in early american texts
Ocular Demonstrations is a. feminist literary study of the theoretical implications of cross-dressing in early American texts. Feminist critics Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Laura Mulvey have discussed how epistemologies of gender are most often rooted in the visual. These analyses are concerned with what signifies gender, such a dress, or how our knowledge has been situated to view these signifiers. Cross-dressing crosses the wires of visual representations of gender and offers a challenge to early American social structure. In early American texts, cross-dressers are often re-assimilated into the context's accepted ideas of gender, or are tricksters who are out to do harm. By discussing Michel Foucault’s theories of the deployment of alliance and the deployment of sexuality as a genealogical approach, my project aims to find a way for the body to exist within constructivist theories of gender. In my analysis of three early American novels, I examine situations where crossdressing does not involve a discussion of a body, and exists within a multitude of assumptions on the part of the narrator. I believe, however, that knowledge of a "true" or "original" body is often sought, and thought to be essential .to the viewer's understanding. My project seeks to bring the body back into constructivist views, without challenging ideas of constructivism.
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Logan, Lisa M.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences;American literature -- Women authors
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Taylor, Jennifer Renee, "Ocular demonstrations: cross-dressing and the body in early american texts" (2001). HIM 1990-2015. 272.