Becoming Psyche: Quest(ion)ing Myths of the Divine Feminine in the Desert
My research examines the relationship between contemporary theories of the fantastic and queer and feminist philosophies of religion. While the fantasy genre is no stranger to either religious or feminist interpretations, my thesis adopts a deconstructive position in order to mediate between these two schools of criticism, which until recently have been read as opposing approaches to the genre.
Deconstruction—with its ethical, quasi-prophetic impulse towards the other, its rejection of hegemony and closure, and its dedication to unravelling closed structures towards these ends—has allowed queer and feminist philosophers, theorists, and theologians to engage with religion while troubling its boundaries and oppressive history, allowing space for dissent and difference. Similarly, even the most conservatively religious fantasies are simultaneously disruptive and open to being dismantled by virtue of belonging to a genre characterized by impossibility and otherness, while the genre’s allusions to mythology and religious narrative lends even the most politically radical and transgressive of fantasies a theological dimension. My study of the intersections of these discourses is necessarily polyvocal, drawing from a variety of deconstructive feminist theories—from French feminism to Marcella Althaus-Reid’s ‘indecent theology’—and tracing their performances and applicability in the work of fantasists as diverse as C.S. Lewis, Angela Carter, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
‘The Stripped Banner: Reading The Fall of Arthur as a Post-World War I Text’ in Sørina Higgins (ed.), The Inklings and King Arthur (Berkeley, CA: Apocryphile Press, TBD). (publication forthcoming)
‘Beyond the Walls of the World: the Theology of Fantasy’ in Movement, Issue 153, Summer 2016.
‘Modern Medievalism and Myth: Tolkien, Tennyson, and the Quest for a Hero’ in The Journal of Inklings Studies, Vol. 3, Issue 2 (Oct. 2013).
Gender Identity Panel, Nine Worlds London Geekfest, August 2016
Fantasy Panel, Glasgow PG Arts Conference, May 2016
Workshop, ‘The Fabulousness of Fairy-Stories’, St Mary’s Cathedral LGBT+ Network, April 2016
Writing and Ideology (course convenor: Sophie Vlacos)