NameGeller, Theresa Lynn (author), Dienst, Richard (chair), Edwards, Brent (internal member), Koszarski, Richard (internal member), Grosz, Elizabeth (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
Characters and characterization in literature--History and criticism
DescriptionGenres rely on audience expectation--its implicit "contract"--to do their narrative work, particularly concerning the identity of the protagonist; yet, when generic expectations are overturned by the assertion of difference, the space is made for re-imagining the social field through alternative characterizations. This dissertation explores the critical implications of the subversion of the "generic contract" in popular film and television by analyzing the style and narrative meanings of contemporary popular texts, such as action blockbusters, sci-fi television episodes, and Japanese film noir, in terms of the history and function of film genre. Developed in this study is a theory of film genre criticism that can account for and explain the ideological work of generic subversion, and the interventions into the popular imagination these subversions take. Generically subversive popular texts contest the dominant conceptions of sexuality, gender, race and nationality that are frequently advocated in Hollywood film and television. My particular intervention revises film genre theory from the perspective of queer epistemology, arguing that genre's repetitive and performative structures make textual subversions of dominant ideology possible. Genre texts rework cultural and historical material but, in doing so, make this material open to mediation and critique. Specifically, dominant conceptions of sex, gender, race and nation are textually foregrounded in the explicit counter-casting of conventional genre characters like "action hero," "noir detective" and "sci-fi alien." Generic subversion, as it is identified in my project, is focalized through anomalous characterizations. In doing so, anxieties about social and cultural difference are thematically reassessed through popular genre film and television. I prove this by presenting a new model of film genre criticism informed by postcolonial, feminist, and queer theories that provide the necessary terms for a more radical approach to textual analysis. Therefore, I redefine genre criticism as a set of reading practices attuned to textual manifestations of difference. This methodological approach identifies the ways popular genres contest, threaten and indeed subvert existing paradigms of textuality and their prevailing norms in order to envision other forms of embodiment and ways of being in the popular imagination.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 315-329)
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.