Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Nancy K. Miller

Committee Members

Carrie Hintz

Paisley Currah

Subject Categories

American Popular Culture | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Keywords

transgender studies, lesbian and gay studies, lesbian pulp, pulp novels, Ann Bannon, Transvestia

Abstract

This dissertation calls for a reconsideration of popular narratives and visual media created by or written about trans people in the United States prior to Stonewall. Grounded in research conducted at the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California, the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota, and the Transgender Collection at Yale University, “Revisioning” argues that the texts that trans readers collected, exchanged within communities, and engaged with in their own writing and scrapbooking are essential to the historicization of trans identity at midcentury. By extending the trans canon to include pulp and erotic novels and periodicals like Virginia Prince’s magazine Transvestia, which have often been overlooked in trans scholarship because of their status as “low” art or their failure to adhere to current gender and sexual politics, this dissertation illuminates new trans literary lineages and expands critical discussion of the trans identities and experiences that circulated in this period. Further, by analyzing the texts themselves, rather than attending only to the titles or the circumstances of their publication, this dissertation aims to complicate our understanding of the plots and possibilities available to trans people at as they encountered new categories of identity and imagined ways to write new futures.

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