Annotated Bibliography on Course Theme: As a class, we will select 4 or 5 course themes to follow throughout the semester. Students will be divided into groups. For the second class of every unit and using the research methodologies we will review at our library session, students will find and read one article the relates to the reading and their chosen theme for the semester, the citation for which and a short summary will also be collected in an annotated bibliography for class-wide use while writing the final essay. The following day, students will break out in their groups to discuss the secondary literature they read and how it applies to the comic we read for that unit, women in comics in general and class discussion that week.
Brewis, Joanna, Mark P. Hampton, and Stephen Linstead. “Unpacking Priscilla: Subjectivity and Identity in the Organization of Gendered Appearance.” Human Relations; Thousand Oaks 50, no. 10 (October 1997): 1275–1304.
This is a somewhat dated look at the practice of crossdressing (coming from 1997), and carries flaws as such. I was excited by the fact that it engaged clothing specifically, in light of Alison Bechdel’s fondness for suits, but I felt that it failed to encapsulate a more comfortable “middle ground” of gender. Brewis prioritizes the practices of male cross-dressers as “a fuller, more complete transgression of gender [than masculine clothing on a female]” (1288). She then proceeds to describe the on-off nature of cross-dressing, in which a man is either dressed as a woman or he isn’t. I feel that by privileging the completion of a transgression, Brewis is overlooking the more constant, subtle transgression that is carried out by say, Bechdel’s drawings of herself in Fun Home. The article breaks down gender as a construct (an argument one could find accompanied by deeper theory in Butler’s Gender Trouble), and then proceeds to address the practices of cross-dressing, as well as how cross-dressing is received by society. The article’s most exciting moments were when it talked about different allocations of the label “deviance” to different practices – say, to drag shows vs. crossdressing in every-day life, or to the male cross-dresser (perceived as) abandoning a privileged position vs. a female crossdresser (perceived as) aspiring to it.
Young, Elizabeth. 1991. “Here Comes the Bride: Wedding Gender and Race in Bride of Frankenstein.” Feminist Studies; College Park 17 (3): 403.
This is a really fascinating article that analyzes Bride of Frankenstein in interlocking lenses of feminism, queer theory, and race. Young argues that the movie displays a series of ever-more-destabilized gender triangles, in which the woman must mediate the homosocial relationship between men and prevent it from becoming homoerotic. The triangle loses stability both as Frankenstein and his mentor, Praetorius draw nearer to each other, and as the monster, inherently other to society, fails to see the difference between ‘friend’ and ‘lover,’ relating to both men and women in the same manner. This growing instability is directly related to the absence of women, and the men desperately seek to craft a woman to mediate for them: the bride of Frankenstein. Interestingly, this societal taboo of homosexuality embodied by the monster is in direct contradiction with the other societal taboo he embodies: the image of the violently heterosexual black man. The monster is depicted as at once monstrously heterosexual in the way that he violates white women, and also monstrously homosexual, in the way that he is attached to Praetorius, specifically. Thus, his internal contradictions are too great, and he commits suicide as the movie concludes. I would say that this article has a unique, insightful argument and argues its point very well. It made good use of Eve Sedgwick’s theory on the homosocial.
McFarland, Jami. “Resuscitating the Undead Queer in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga” Journal of Popular Romance Studies. July 2016. http://jprstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/RTUQISMTS.07.2016.pdf
While at first glance this article may not seem immediately relevant because it is about a popular romance novel but this article utilizes monster culture theory to evaluate a work of literature. It also provides an example of literary criticism that incorporates gender studies theoretical texts but is written about a popular novel which is similar to pieces we would be writing about comics like Monstress and Saga. This text is specifically about the use of queer monsters which is a topic that is directly relevant to this theme and could be applied to other monster-related texts in the syllabus including My Favorite Thing is Monsters and One! Hundred! Demons!.