Representing Queer Adolescence: A Critical and Creative Investigation.
University of Roehampton, London
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My hybrid autobiography entitled ‘Salmon F.U.: Growing Up a Queer Animal’ will be divided into five chapters each taking an animal and life phase as its anchor. My methodology dictates that each chapter will comprise of a mix of poetically presented autobiography and critical theory. For example my chapter on whales describes studies in the menopause in orca communities whilst examining the transgender ageing process.I will use the first year of my doctorate to formally compose literary studies of my own adolescent queerness. In my second year I will weave these short pieces with my research in queer theory. Concurrent to these practices I will be researching a trans lineage in classical representations of animals. These will form several close readings of chimeric characters and tropes that I will then weave with my own queer testimony.In five sections, detailing queer youth, adulthood and old age through studies of animal encounters and species-crossings I will ask whether linguistic chimera is possible. That is, whether transformation through the medium of text can happen, and what the efficacy of such an imaginative transition might be. My methodology, a combination of creative life writing and critical analysis, wrestles with this question in practice. My project seeks to work out whether societal and individual transformation can be realised through an experimental, queer writing practice.My hybrid text lays out the argument for the transformative properties of metaphor. In Salmon F.U. I will playfully demonstrate the inherently queer character of language. ‘Language is a weird material crying to be punched’. I will put forth the thesis that language is physical, instinctual and bodily, it resonates in the body, is of the body, evolved with the body and therefore must be wilder and more unknown than the fixed ideas related to biology and gender that it is used to conscript. In this way my thesis will write against post structuralist feminist essentialist interpretations of gender.