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Title page for ETD etd-11182015-103552

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Baumkel, Max Rose
URN etd-11182015-103552
Title The Invisible Presence of Trans- Bodies: Unpacking Regimes of Visibility and Visuality Through Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Helen Shin Committee Chair
  • trans
  • transgender
  • contemporary
  • digital humanities
  • new media
  • cybernetics
  • visual culture
  • visuality
Date of Defense 2015-06-10
Availability unrestricted
This thesis argues that the ways in which trans-ness functions within telemediated spaces disrupts the conventions of new media studies that would assert reality is established primarily through visual engagement. In Tom Cho’s collection of short stories, Look Who’s Morphing, the reader is confronted with characters and situations that are transgender, transcultural, and transhuman. By presenting characters who embody multiple forms of trans-ness and who cross the boundaries between fictional stories, play with the uneasy distinction between narrative self and self in the world, and move between the biological and technological, Cho pushes the reader to confront the body’s mutability. Given the ways in which the characters in Cho’s work destabilize our realities, I argue that they work as well against commonly held assumptions about bodily authenticity and integrity. I suggest finally that due to the persistent shifts, crosses, and changes that Cho’s characters undergo both within and between stories, we are forced to imagine these characters without reference to regimes of visibility.
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