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Queer Developments: The Politics of Reimagining Age

  • Author(s): Mattingly, Emily
  • Advisor(s): Haggerty, George E.
  • et al.
Abstract

"Queer Developments" examines how various twentieth-century and contemporary American artists, filmmakers, and writers reimagine childhood to construct queer visions of aging. This project integrates performance studies with visual and literary analysis to explore how a wide range of texts craft such visions using childhood as the raw material for artistic practices that simultaneously negotiate and make topsy-turvy dominant scripts of age. These practices destabilize straight narratives of growth and development organized around the child-adult binary and its discursive wedge: innocence. This project focuses on works that showcase these practices through critically reimagining popular children's fiction, a genre that relies on the normative fictions of chronological aging for its powerful ideological energies. Such works foreground performative re-citations of children's fiction to denaturalize innocence and expose how its privileges structure dominant discourses of age. These artistic practices scramble and recircuit innocence's energies to fashion radical political statements about identity.

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