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Naomi Frisby

Naomi Frisby

Female Freaks and Feminism: Gender and Diversity in Circus and Sideshow Literature


Discipline/professional area

Outline of research project

My research concerns the representation of female freaks and those who identify as female in circus and sideshow literature using feminist cultural theory. It will consider how women’s bodies are treated by novelists in the circus and sideshow genre; whether their work conveys the beliefs of the time period within which they are set or whether there is an element of presentism, the works reflecting feminist cultural theory at the time of production. I intend to focus closely on ideas of intersectionality and therefore, the representation of women of colour, the working class, transgender women and intersex characters. The creative work is a novel, provisionally titled Freakshow.

Key References

Adams, Rachel (2001) Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination Chicago, University of Chicago Press

Bogdan, Robert (1990) Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit Chicago, University of Chicago Press

Fuss, Diana (1990) Essentially Speaking: Feminism, Nature and Difference London, Routledge

Hooks, Bell (1987) Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism London, Pluto Press

Russo, Mary (1995) The Female Grotesque London, Routledge

Smith, Joan (1997) Different for Girls London, Chatto and Windus

Director of studies
Dr Jill LeBihan

Linda Lee Welch

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