Alexandra Pugh (KCL) - 2020-21 Students

Boundary Trouble: Thinking Queer Feminism with Virginie Despentes

My thesis uses the work of Virginie Despentes as a prism for thinking through the tensions, complexities, and intersections of ‘queer’ and ‘feminist’. The purpose of the thesis is twofold: it aims to contribute to queer (and) feminist theory, while intervening in the small but rapidly expanding body of secondary literature on Despentes. In Despentes’ literary and filmic works, I find fertile ground for analysis of some seemingly contradictory impulses that arise across and within queer and feminist thought, including critical negativity versus utopian futurism; the affirmation of identity versus the deconstruction of the subject; and the processes of exclusion, appropriation, and dilution that can paradoxically occur when subversive works, theories or movements gain widespread traction. Through close readings of Despentes’ work, I am able to think through – critique, unpick, but also sit with – these troublesome tendencies; trouble itself emerges as productive force, if not a condition of possibility for queer feminism.

Primary supervisor: Professor Siobhán McIlvanney, KCL
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ros Murray, KCL

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