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Queer(y)ing Bodily Norms in Francophone Culture


Edited By Polly Galis, Antonia Wimbush and Maria Tomlinson

Queer(y)ing Bodily Norms in Francophone Culture questions how a wide selection of restrictive norms come to bear on the body, through a close analysis of a range of texts, media and genres originating from across the francophone world and spanning the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Each essay troubles hegemonic, monolithic perceptions and portrayals of racial, class, gender, sexual and/or national identity, rethinking bodily norms as portrayed in literature, film, theatre and digital media specifically from a queer and querying perspective. The volume thus takes «queer(y)ing» as its guiding methodology, an approach to culture and society which examines, questions and challenges normativity in all of its guises. The term «queer(y)ing» retains the celebratory tone of the term «queer» but avoids appropriating the identity of the LGBTQ+ community, a group which remains marginalized to this day. The publication reveals that evaluating the bodily norms depicted in francophone culture through a queer and querying lens allows us to fragment often oppressive and restrictive norms, and ultimately transform them.

Polly Galis is conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Bristol, funded by the SFS Postdoctoral Prize Fellowship. Her project, Narratives of Pleasure and Protest by Francophone Sex Workers, explores the literature of three twentieth-century writers: Jeanne Cordelier (France), Albertine Sarrazin (Algeria) and Grisélidis Réal (Switzerland). Her monograph, Frank French Feminisms, is forthcoming with Peter Lang, as a winner of the 2019 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in French Studies.

Maria Tomlinson is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the department of journalism at the University of Sheffield. Her research project is titled Menstruation and the Media: Reducing Stigma and Tackling Period Poverty. She completed her PhD in French literature at the University of Reading. Her specialist areas are gender, feminism and queer studies. Her monograph, From Menstruation to the Menopause: The Female Fertility Cycle in Contemporary Women's Writing in French, is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press.

Antonia Wimbush is a Leverhulme Early Career Researcher in French at the University of Liverpool, where she is investigating cultural responses to post-war French Caribbean migration. She completed her Midlands3Cities-funded PhD at the University of Birmingham. She has taught French language and culture at the Universities of Birmingham and Bath. Her monograph, Autofiction: A Female Francophone Aesthetic of Exile, is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press.

The three volume editors co-organized the conference «Imagining the Body in France and the Francophone World» at the University of Birmingham in January 2018, which served as an inspiration both for this volume and a special issue of L’Esprit Créateur (Summer 2020).