School of Culture and Communication - Theses
Permanent URI for this collection
Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
ItemFemale desire and agency in selected short stories by Lorrie Moore & Thrill: short storiesBarber, Emily Rose ( 2016)This dissertation employs Simone de Beauvoir’s and Jessica Benjamin’s theories of female subjectivity to perform a gynocritical feminist exploration of women’s desire and agency as depicted in selected short stories by Lorrie Moore. Examining Moore’s short stories ‘You’re Ugly, Too’ (Like Life 67–91), ‘Willing’ (Birds of America 5–25), ‘Two Boys’ (Like Life 3–19) and ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors: A Guide to the Tenor of Love’ (Self-Help 97–116), the thesis aims to discuss the ways in which Moore’s stories call into question both the objectification of women under patriarchy, and the impact that this objectification has on female subjectivity, desire and agency. It is my hypothesis that, key to Moore’s critique of the objectification of women, is the portrayal in her short fiction of straight women whose complex romantic and sexual encounters with men compromise their sense of themselves as subjects capable of desire and agency. My research attempts to show that Moore’s stories comment on the often-compromised desire and agency of women under patriarchy, and can be considered creative solutions to the question of how short fiction might function to broach the complexities of female subjectivity. The creative component of the dissertation, Thrill, comprises seventeen short stories that explore female desire and agency. Thrill responds to Moore’s work, and to the thinking of Beauvoir and Benjamin, by depicting young heterosexual women grappling with issues of desire, agency, and subjectivity. These stories hinge on the idea that female subjectivity is controlled and negated by a patriarchal sexual politics which is at its most potent in the interpersonal sexual arena.
ItemInspired recklessness and spirited perversity: transformations of the wilful child in neo-Victorian literatureDireen, Emily Elizabeth ( 2015)Though Victorian fiction is rife with doomed wilful children, the same cannot be said of neo-Victorian fiction. Taking this narrative difference as my point of departure, my thesis investigates the transformation of the Victorian figure of the wilful child in neo-Victorian fiction, through a detailed examination of the ways in which wilfulness manifests, or fails to manifest—through spatial practices, thoughts, speech, and self-narrative. Using Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda (1986), A.N. Wilson’s A Jealous Ghost (2005), A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book (2005), Carol Birch’s Jamrach’s Menagerie (2010) and John Harding’s Florence & Giles (2010) as case studies, I examine differences in wilful and will-less children’s responses to various forms of adult control, and what impact these responses have on the characters’ narrative trajectories. By drawing attention to repeated narrative patterns of resistance and oppression in the neo-Victorian genre, I track a significant shift in contemporary textual responses to the wilful child, alongside a reverse response to the will-less child. I argue that while the wilful child in Victorian fiction is depicted as a wretched figure of excess, neo-Victorian fiction displaces this abjection onto the child with a lack of will. In neo-Victorian fiction it is will-lessness, not wilfulness, that has severe repercussions. Drawing on Turner’s model of liminality and Kristeva’s concept of abjection, I argue that will-lessness, as it is experienced by children in neo-Victorian fiction, is linked with negative liminality and subsequent troubled identity. Ultimately, I contend that wilfulness plays a pivotal role in the survival of the child who occupies the liminal physical and emotional spaces of neo-Victorian fiction. The neo-Victorian fictional child must cultivate strength of will if he or she is to flourish. In neo-Victorian fiction, wilfulness enables children to plot different pathways for themselves, and allows them to actively manipulate adult regimes of control for their own gain. As a direct result of their drive to will their own way, I contend that wilful children in neo-Victorian fiction repeatedly engage in “surreptitious creativities” and “tactics,” which develop in spite of “networks of surveillance” (de Certeau 96) put in place by adults. In this way, they actively engage with—and manipulate—the socially coded rules of childhood. This thesis seeks to demonstrate that in contrast to Victorian fiction, neo-Victorian fiction reinterprets wilfulness as a positive, enabling trait. I argue that the authorial manipulation of character tropes, point-of-view and narrative sequencing in neo-Victorian fiction ultimately underscore children’s right to exist wilfully.
ItemMoving images, the museum and a politics of movement: a study of the museum visitorRADYWYL, NATALIA ( 2008)This dissertation is an investigation of visitor experiences in the Screen Gallery at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), in Melbourne. This thesis argues that visitors’ interaction with moving image art can yield expressions of agency which not only enrich the experience of visiting a new museum, but also find application beyond an institutionalised environment as a praxis for negotiating the conditions of everyday life. I term the articulation of this praxis a politics of movement. (For complete abstract open document).
ItemPleasure revolution possibilityZelezny, Jena A. ( 2011)The early work of Bertolt Brecht is relegated to an inferior position in the canon often placed in the category of juvenilia and given the deprecating description of anarchistic or immature. This thesis examines three of the early plays—Baal, In the Jungle of Cities and the Life of Edward II of England―chosen for their open form of dramaturgy and for their subject matter. The aim of producing new readings of these plays is to assess their contribution to the understanding of the discourse on sexuality, race and class the rhetoric of benevolence and the performativity of power. Judith Butler’s work which reconsiders the basis for assumptions made about how gender is constituted is apposite for this assessment not only because her work challenges foundations but because I establish that there is an alignment between the analytical frameworks used by Butler and the dramaturgical methods used by Brecht. The creative work of the thesis draws inspiration from this alignment and attempts to develop a dramaturgy, a set of practices, informed by Brecht, Butler and the demands of the material. It is my contention that Butler’s theory of performativity, and its relevance to aesthetic contexts, remains under-developed for its potential to revolutionize practice. Further, I suggest that Butler’s theory and Brecht’s early dramaturgy comprise the modality through which the particular agency of theatre can be seen to communicate the complex processes at work in the way the social world is made. The creative work takes form as a script framed by a description of the developmental process and methodology, together with a possible treatment which incorporates techniques devised to problematize and challenge key theatrical paradigms. The framing also outlines the way in which the alignment between Brecht and Butler tests and defines the limits of Brechtian Gestus—which privileges the performer—the limits of self knowledge, and consequently, knowledge of Others. The title of the thesis refers not only to the pleasure of creative thinking and play with which the theory is approached but to the way in which foundational fictions and cultural sedimentation are dissolved. The concept of revolution is used to describe the expansion of analytical frameworks used by both Brecht and Butler in their ground-breaking and sustained efforts to explicate processes such as subject formation, agency and the processes of abjection. Possibility is perhaps the most difficult of the three notions to define. I advocate for the sense of the word which focuses not on utopian fantasy or science fiction but on the pragmatics of that which is actually negotiable or achievable within the mangle of power and knowledge.