The term “self-indulgent” is rarely used approvingly, or claimed willingly. In this project, I challenge the conventional, derogatory use of the term, in order to ask: How does the label “self-indulgence” work on and affect subjects whose subjectivities challenge normative expectations and experiences—namely: women, gender-nonconforming and trans individuals, people of color, queers? How might we re-conceptualize the value and importance of “self-indulgence” in relation to both aesthetics and identity politics, in order to champion such devalued “selves,” and to transvalue self-indulgence in relation to these minoritized figures? I theorize self-indulgence as a methodology and survival strategy, and articulate a reverse discourse of self-indulgence that works against normative strictures of identity and experience. On the surface, "self-indulgent" seems to be an innocuous judgment, but its very casual use is part of its disciplining power. With my work, I take back and repurpose the term in order to make room for a more expansive idea of the value of non-normative selves, despite the suffocating societal expectations that govern our existence. This can be a matter of life and death for those whose desire for a livable life is seen as self-indulgent.
Self-indulgence, in my work, is not synonymous with self-satisfaction, but instead demands a more expansive understanding of the “self” at stake, in order to challenge and reshape the normative strictures of subjectivity. Focusing on seemingly straightforward performances of self-indulgence—including close readings of literary criticism on Gertrude Stein’s life and work; durational performance artist Julie Tolentino’s ongoing installation Cry of Love: Honey; and the gender politics of an annual lesbian separatist music festival—I propose self-indulgence as a kind of care of the self, and selves, that performatively imagines and enacts more vibrant ways of being in the world, and with others.
|Commitee:||Browning, Barbara, Shimakawa, Karen, Turner, Kay, Vazquez, Alexandra|
|School:||New York University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American studies, LGBTQ studies, Performing Arts|
|Keywords:||Ethics, Gender performativity, Queer aesthetics, Relational subjectivity, Self-indulgence, Stein, Gertrude|
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