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Title page for ETD etd-07232009-180528

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chapman, Rebecca Renee
URN etd-07232009-180528
Title Rehabilitating Shakespeare: Cultural Appropriation and Queer Subjectivity
Degree PhD
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kathryn Schwarz Committee Chair
Leah Marcus Committee Chair
Katherine B. Crawford Committee Member
Katherine Rowe Committee Member
Lynn Enterline Committee Member
  • shakespeare
  • cultural studies
  • queer theory
  • documentary film
Date of Defense 2009-05-28
Availability unrestricted
In this dissertation, I argue that we are in the midst of an emergent cultural phenomenon. In the present moment, various social institutions facilitate both formal and informal performance-based Shakespeare rehabilitation programs intended to aid ethnically, racially, economically, and sexually marginalized communities in obtaining a more socially successful future. From prisons to immigrant acculturation projects, these programs present rehabilitation as the point at which Shakespeare’s intrinsic value meets its use value. However, in examining the audio-visual documentations of these programs—-or what I refer to as rehabilitative Shakespeares—-Shakespeare operates as an alibi for mechanisms of disciplinary power. While I describe the cinematic conventions and institutional investments of rehabilitative Shakespeares at length, I am primarily concerned with the discursive means by which the rehabilitative subject in process comes to signify both normative and non-normative identity positions in palimpsestic ways. The rehabilitative subject represents a site of identificatory multiplicity that disrupts the teleological intents of these programs. In attending to these moments of disruption during which categories of the normative and non-normative cease to signify as the only possible modes of being, we witness the emergence of queer subjectivity, or what I characterize as a strategically performative sense of self that signifies across a multivalent range of identity possibilities.
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