University of Mississippi Department of English Presents: Before the Sissy: Girl-Boys In Nineteenth-Century America
Gender nonconforming and trans children have recently found themselves the target of conservative politicians, many of whom paint their very existence as a historically recent phenomenon. This talk begs to differ, uncovering a long history of gender variance and transgender self-understandings. Specifically, it surveys the history of a nineteenth-century figure widely known as the girl-boy. By examining texts from short stories published in children’s periodicals in the 1830s to educational tracts to Willa Cather’s oft-discussed “Paul’s Case,” the talk allows us to better understand how prevailing cultural beliefs about the genders of children have changed and remained surprisingly consistent over time.
Talk by Dr. Travis Foster, Associate Professor of English and Academic Director Gender and Women’s studies at Villanova University. He is the author of Genre and White Supremacy in the Postemancipation United States (Oxford University Press, 2019) and the editor of The Cambridge Companion to American Literature and the Body (2022). He has published articles on, among other topics, Edith Wharton, Sarah Orne Jewett, F. O. Matthiessen, effeminate men, and campus novels. He lives in West Philly.
Talk presented by the University Department of English. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies.
Related LibGuide: LGBTQ Subject Guide by Leigh McWhite
- Friday, September 22, 2023
- 1:00pm - 2:00pm
- Faulkner Room (318 A)