Event Title

Deconstructing the Politics, Erotics, and Poetics of Contemporary Feminist Text in the Post Me Too Era

Presenter Information

Gabi Shiner, Oberlin CollegeFollow

Location

King Building 123

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2019 1:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2019 2:20 PM

Abstract

In my project, I propose interventions into feminist literary theory in the post-Me Too era. I approach these interventions by deconstructing the erotics, politics and poetics of sexual representation in Sheila Heti’s experimental 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be? Heti devotes a large section of her novel to depicting a sexual experience in the “gray area” -- an encounter where pleasure and consent figure in complex, non-concrete ways. Though the experience described seems painful, the narrator’s account is linguistically riotous, playful, and fun to read. Digging into this discordance between content and aesthetic, I explore the ways in which one feminist text portrays multiple, contrasting affects at the same time as a means of speaking truth to the experience of the grey area. Through the lenses of feminist literary theory, trauma theory, and affect theory, I parse out the way Heti leverages affect, aesthetic, freeplay, and fun to recount a fraught sexual experience truthfully without forfeiting the joy of linguistic play and performance. In the process, I conceive of new approaches to feminist close reading and feminist self construction -- two projects important to postmodern literary theory -- in order to formulate a more complex lens through which to read contemporary women’s work. Ultimately, I emphasize the importance of understanding how writing about trauma can be an act of pleasure in and of itself.

Keywords:

language, sexuality, affect theory, feminism, literary theory, trauma theory, contemporary fiction, experimental

Notes

Session III, Panel 6 - Feminist | Readings

Moderator: Patrick O'Connor, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature

Major

English; Creative Writing

Advisor(s)

Wendy Beth Hyman, English
Sylvia Watanabe, Creative Writing

Project Mentor(s)

Wendy Beth Hyman, English

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 27th, 1:00 PM Apr 27th, 2:20 PM

Deconstructing the Politics, Erotics, and Poetics of Contemporary Feminist Text in the Post Me Too Era

King Building 123

In my project, I propose interventions into feminist literary theory in the post-Me Too era. I approach these interventions by deconstructing the erotics, politics and poetics of sexual representation in Sheila Heti’s experimental 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be? Heti devotes a large section of her novel to depicting a sexual experience in the “gray area” -- an encounter where pleasure and consent figure in complex, non-concrete ways. Though the experience described seems painful, the narrator’s account is linguistically riotous, playful, and fun to read. Digging into this discordance between content and aesthetic, I explore the ways in which one feminist text portrays multiple, contrasting affects at the same time as a means of speaking truth to the experience of the grey area. Through the lenses of feminist literary theory, trauma theory, and affect theory, I parse out the way Heti leverages affect, aesthetic, freeplay, and fun to recount a fraught sexual experience truthfully without forfeiting the joy of linguistic play and performance. In the process, I conceive of new approaches to feminist close reading and feminist self construction -- two projects important to postmodern literary theory -- in order to formulate a more complex lens through which to read contemporary women’s work. Ultimately, I emphasize the importance of understanding how writing about trauma can be an act of pleasure in and of itself.