One need not strain to find examples of male sentimentality in contemporary US popular culture: From frequent news stories on "Weeper of the House" John Boehner, to the success of Judd Apatow's poignant "bromance" movies, to last year's film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's celebrated adolescent novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999), the man of feeling seems more present and popular than ever. With an unsettling display of excessive emotion emanating from the male body, each iteration provokes in viewers, listeners, and cultural critics any one of several disparate responses: Whether committed to the transgressive potential of a male who feels different because he offers vulnerability where others offer hardened restraint, or whether insistent in the claim that these texts simply add to what Gail Bederman would call the "remaking" of a continually complex normative subject, we find in the man of feeling an ambivalent subject for the public sphere. The initial question for readers, listeners, or viewers is often a simple one: is male sentimentality transformative and progressive, or is it pathetic and self-serving? But the presumption that we must answer one way or another belies the historical and cultural complexity of the man of feeling, and merely reinforces a kind of political approach to reading that simply replicates our own attitudes and relation to normativity and its privileges. This dissertation—under the impulse of recent work in queer theory and affect to reach closer to, rather than further from, normativity—takes up the counterintuitive position that we might draw this unlikely subject of the wallflower out from the sidelines and use him to interrogate normativity not from outside, but rather beside, its unsteady borders. It asks a central question—What does it mean for a critique of normativity to come from the normative subject?—and argues that the "peripheral" reading of normativity he helps enable might serve to render the logics of normativity in different ways than we can with more traditionally oppositional forms of critique.
|Advisor:||Halberstam, Judith Jack|
|Commitee:||Anderson, Emily, Gordon, Michelle, Kun, Josh|
|School:||University of Southern California|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American studies, American literature, Gender studies, Film studies|
|Keywords:||Male, Masculinity, Periphery, Sentimentality, Wallflower|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be