Brittany Murphy, '14


Brittany Murphy, '14



2012; 2013


Brittany Murphy is a Florida native, hailing from a small town in South West Florida. She is a Humanities major as well as Religious Studies while minoring in Mass Communications. Brittany's research interests are how gender and religion shape popular culture in the US. Brittany dreams of obtaining her Ph.D. in Cultural Theory, with the goal of working in a Cultural Studies department within a major metropolitan museum.

Undergraduate Major

Humanities; Religious Studies

Future Plans

Ph.D. in Cultural Theory

Summer Research

The Failure of Happiness: Examining Strategies Within LGBT/ Queer Young Adult Fiction Conducted at the University of California Irvine as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program and the UCF McNair Scholars Program. Mentor: Dr. Jonathan Alexander, Department of Women Studies, University of California Irvine Abstract: In order for pre-Stonewall lesbian and gay fiction to be considered for publishing, the narratives had to accommodate socio-cultural sensibilities that were opposed to or perhaps incapable of conceptualizing a "happy ending" for queer people, however, popular culture and public policy are informing new modes of thought concerning queer youth. I believe this is possible because Young Adult fiction has created a literal space and a market in which stories of LGBT youth have flourished. I would like to see how the unhappy queer functions in these narratives, and see what it produces in way of success/failure or new possibilities for future queers/LGBT youth all together. I will be using Sara Ahmed's The Promise of Happiness and Judith Halberstam's The Queer Art of Failure, as primary theoretical models. I will examine how these characters work with and against these texts in order to analyze how the unhappy or happy queer is functioning within the narrative, as well as informing queer young adult identity. I will be conducting a close reading of David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy, and the co-authored hit Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan in tandem with academic articles concerning the application of Queer YA Fiction in our contemporary period. I will focus on these particular texts because of their immense influence and popularity in our current period. My goal is to use a non-threatening aesthetic space, YA Fiction, to discuss theoretical concepts with visible effects in our contemporary moment; adding a perspective and furthering conversations around YA Queer/LGBT literature.

Summer Research Institution

University of California Irvine

Graduate School

University of California Los Angeles (Ph.D.)


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Brittany Murphy, '14