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An other Kind of Home

Gender-Sexual Abjection, Subjectivity, and the Uncanny in Literature and Film

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Kyle Frackman

In this study, the author examines works of German-language literature and film from the nineteenth and twentieth century in order to chart a certain kind of otherness. Common to all of the examined cultural products are aspects of gender, sexuality, a notion of home or belonging, and pressures of abjection. Other elements of identity include race and disease. The characters in the analyzed works encounter both mutual dependence and abhorrence, which complicate their experiences in space and time. This analysis demonstrates that acceptance and belonging are difficult to attain, particularly in the fraught power dynamics in these works. This book includes discussions of works by Frank Wedekind, Robert Musil, Kutluğ Ataman, and Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss.
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Chapter 1: Othering, Abjection, and Belonging

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What counts in the things said by men [sic] is not so much what they may have thought or the extent to which these things represent their thoughts, as that which systematizes them from the outset, thus making them thereafter endlessly accessible to new discourses and open to the task of transforming them. (Foucault, Birth of the Clinic xix)

My goal in this book is to investigate the spatial and temporal othering of subjects, characters, and themes in German-language film and literature by means of a series of case studies. In these I aim to illustrate a certain kind of alterity. I develop here a theory of subject and body construction based in part on the work of poststructuralist, feminist, and psychoanalytic theorists. There are three so-called red threads that weave their way through the following chapters: gender, sexuality, and a notion of home or belonging. In short, I propose if not a classification then a diagnostic schema for a new type of othering based on the interactions among these three unifying ideas. I will demonstrate in my readings of four cultural products and their contexts that a specific kind of othering can occur when certain conditions are met: new body forms (corporeal constructions) will result from the combination of gender-sexual behaviours with notions of “home” and the pressures of abjection. The entities that emerge from this process will operate in various spatiotemporalities, fusions of space and time.

The objects of my analysis come...

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