Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Modern & Classical Languages

First Advisor

Faye Stewart

Abstract

What makes identity readable? To answer this question, I examine the constructions of queer, non-German women in three contemporary transnational German films, Aimée und Jaguar, Fremde Haut and Auf der anderen Seite. To become readable, and thus to survive within the socio-political realm of German culture, these protagonists must construct and perform interconnected dimensions of identity— sex, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, language, clothing, and name—that can be located along a hegemonic-defined continuum. But when the characters cannot be read within this framework, they trouble dominant readings and understandings of their positions in this system and disrupt normative conceptions of identity. These threats to the system, however, do not lead to a renegotiation of the protagonists’ identities. Rather, hegemonic German society reacts to the unreadability of these queer figures by violently rejecting them through deportation and/or death.

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