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Monstrosity, Performance, and Race in Contemporary Culture

Bernadette Marie Calafell

In a society that increasingly touts post-racial and post-feminist discourses, the trope of monstrosity becomes a way to critically examine contemporary meanings around race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Focusing on ways in which historically marginalized groups appropriate monstrosity as a means of resistance, as well as on how we can understand oppression and privilege through monstrosity, this book offers another way to conceptualize the politics of representation. Through critical analyses of experiences of women of color in the academy, the media framing of alleged Aurora shooter James Holmes, the use of monstrosity in unpublished work from the Gloria Anzaldúa archives, post-feminist discourses in American Mary and The Lords of Salem, and Kanye West’s strategic employment of ideologies of monstrosity, this book offers new ways to think about Otherness in this contemporary moment.
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Conclusion: Monstrous Endings


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Monstrous Endings

“I find comfort in knowing I’m not alone. There’s a whole cadre of women – other educated Lloronas of the twentieth century, who had the historical audacity … to become thinkers. We are historical apertures, unwanted in our times, and adulteresses to our culture and class.” (Holguín Cuádraz 217)

Like Gloria Holguín Cuádraz, I am a Llorona in the academy. I am a woman who chooses to be childfree. I breed ideas, not children (Pattisapu and Calafell). I know what it feels like to be a monster. As I entered the academy, as wrote in Chapter One, I began to further understand the complexity of this position and how it would inform all parts of my life.

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