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Kidd, Katherine Anne (2016) THE (CLASS) STRUGGLE IS REAL(LY QUEER): A BILATERAL INTERVENTION INTO WORKING-CLASS STUDIES AND QUEER THEORY. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Class issues have become more prescient in media and literary studies, as the gap between the upper and lower classes has widened. Meanwhile, scholars in the growing field of working-class studies attempt to define what working-class literature is by formulating criteria for what kinds of people count as working-class, based on moralism supposedly held by working-class people. Usually, working-class people are envisioned as white, heteronormative, and dignified legitimate workers. Working-class studies seldom engages with queer theory or conventional forms of identity politics. Conversely, queer theorists often reference class, but abandon it in favor of other topics. This dissertation argues that working-class studies needs a queering, and queer theory needs a more pointed class analysis.
I begin with a close look at queer people of color in media, first revisiting the 1990 documentary film Paris is Burning. I examine how failure relates to the lives of the queens portrayed, and how class complicates failure’s potential resistance, and how drag performances comprise highly class-critical social commentary. Ru Paul’s Drag Race and the photography of Pittsburgh artist Caldwell Linker are compared with the film. In my second chapter, I analyze the television series Breaking Bad and argue that the limited scope of working-class character in working-class studies obscures the exploitation of non-normative Others by Walter White, who is not a working-class hero, but a high capitalist rising to power in the economy of illicit drug manufacturing. In my last chapter, I explore the issues of class and abjection in three contemporary novels, Bastard out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison, The Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute, and Push, by Sapphire. This chapter asks questions about extremes of class and queer failure, and the impact of intersectionality on the ostensible resistance in claiming failure and indignity argued in contemporary queer theories that take up abjection.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kidd, Katherine Annekag86@pitt.eduKAG86
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairGlazener, Nancyglazener@pitt.eduGLAZENER
Committee CoChairColes, Nicholascoles@pitt.eduCOLES
Committee MemberScott, William Davidwdscott@pitt.eduWDSCOTT
Committee MemberAnderson, Mark Lynnandersml@pitt.eduANDERSML
Committee MemberMalin, Brentbmalin@pitt.eduBMALIN
Date: 30 September 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 August 2016
Approval Date: 30 September 2016
Submission Date: 19 August 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 203
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Class, work, queer, drag, abjection, failure, race, morality, drugs
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2016 15:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:35


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