Please join us on Wednesday, October 26 from 12pm-1:30pm for our graduate colloquium featuring Clare Mullaney (English) and Maria Murphy (Musicology) in the Silverstein Forum of Stiteler Hall. RSVP below to reserve your lunch. Paper descriptions are as follows:
Clare Mullaney, English
"Word-by-Word, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Subsistence, and 'The Diseased Will'"
Drawing on the relationship between disability studies and material text studies, this paper suggests that Mary Wilkins Freeman’s short stories, shaped through the constrictions imposed by late nineteenth-century periodical publishing, express a homology between style and character. An attention to what Wilkins Freeman describes as “those features of will…so strong as to be almost exaggerations and deformities” works to trouble recent queer and feminist readings of regionalist space that idealize what Mary Reichardt terms “female rebellion.” Whereas early commentaries on Wilkins Freeman’s work depend on a eugenic discourse of rural backwardness, her stories’ close attention to measurement make visible the near scarcity of these poor and elderly women’s resources and thus undo the fictions of ideology. Her “blunt” and “flat” modes of narration, in addition to her stories’ lack of explicit plot, mirror the “depravity” of her unmarried female characters who subsist on slim resources to “get by,” if just barely. The chapter offers, then, a history of subsistence both in relation to early twentieth-century reforms in rural farming and as a descriptor for Wilkins Freeman’s own textual practices.
Maria Murphy, Musicology
"Sounding Censorship, Censoring Sound: Karen Finley and Laurie Anderson during the Feminist Sex Wars"
This paper examines feminist discourse concerning issues of social hygiene in both the private and public sphere in 1980s New York. The support and disdain for pornography in particular was a polarizing issue among scholars and activists. Andrea Dworkin, Catherine MacKinnon, and Gloria Steinem advocated for civil laws to address the misogynistic and violent nature of pornography, while Gayle Rubin and Ellen Willis countered with an anticensorship, sex-positive approach to feminist practice. Through the multimedia performance art of Karen Finley and Laurie Anderson, I consider how reproductive techniques and gender performance factor into the historical discussion of censoring pornography.