Gender, Bodies, and Hybridity in Media

Michelle O’Halloran

Only Yesterday and the Transnational Power of Anime

Japanese animation, or “anime”, has become a transnational media form, in which international and particularly North American viewers have found value. The original dissertation argues that the Disney Company’s distribution of the films of Japanese production house Studio Ghibli has played a major role in anime gaining a place in North American audience’s consciousness, therefore increasing anime’s popularity and the demand for it to be made available to English-speaking audiences. It goes on to argue that because of the numerous female-centred stories in anime, there has been a notable shift in North American audiences perceptions of expectations for female characters in the media they consume. This shift can be linked to the popularity and cultural recognition of anime, especially in Studio Ghibli films, which are known for their unique and plentiful female leads. This presentation will use Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata dir. 1991) as a case study to examine the cultural themes, subject matter, and gender representation that anime works address more readily than mainstream Western animation. The presentation will explore how the film’s overdue 2016 English-language release serves as an example of the changing appetite of for alternative narratives.

Michelle O’Halloran is a first-year PhD student in the Cultural Studies program at
Queen’s University. Her current research involves the intersection of popular animation, gender, transnationalism, and fan culture, with a focus on Japanese animated media. With her continuing research, she is excited to contribute to the small but growing field of animation studies.

Jamieson Ryan

“That looks like a penis…only smaller”: The Body as Power and Comedy in Hockey Films

Through an examination of three hockey comedies, The Love Guru, Goon, and Goon: Last of the Enforcers, I explore how the white male body functions at once as a source of power, with how it performs on the ice, while also being the main source of comedy in the genre through bodily humour. How is the sole site of pride in these films also the main source of laughs? And what does their alignment say about the insecurities of players? I also demonstrate the tension between being a physical hockey body and an intimate loving body as player’s struggle to understand their bodies outside of hockey in romantic relationships. My paper particularly interrogate how homoeroticism and homosocial bonds are often meant to be comedic, and how derogatory jokes function as a way for players to distance themselves from the close male bonds they have with their teammates. I display how hockey films align the homosexual Other with the foreign Other, and how comedy is most often a form of delineating the boundaries of “acceptable” male behavior in sporting spheres.

Jamieson Ryan is a Ph.D. student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He
studies hockey literature, graphic novels, trauma, and the intersections of gender in national myths in sport. His dissertation explores Canadian hockey myths, and how they differ from the lived experiences of professional women’s hockey players.

Alicia Alves

Queer Hybridity and the Animal-Vampire Body in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

In the late-Victorian period, scientific discoveries led to anxieties about the blurred line between the human and the animal, and writings by Victorian sexologists contributed to a rise in classifying and defining the queer body as other than the heterosexual one. Post-Darwinian anxieties and the growing categorization of queer sexualities make the late-Victorian period ripe for a study of how queerness and the animal intersect. While scholars have discussed animal and queer bodies in the late-Victorian period, critics have largely ignored the link between them. My paper examines the queer hybrid animal body through late-Victorian representations of the vampire in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and through Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 film adaptation of the novel. I argue that the vampire body transgresses heteronormative boundaries through his visible animal hybridity and his shifting and fluid body. In the novel, Dracula’s body is marked as threatening in its hybridity, and heteronormative agents pursue and seek to destroy him. As we see through Coppola’s adaption of the novel, this visible association of the vampire with the animal continues to mark the vampire body as other than the normative one.

Alicia Alves is a PhD candidate in the English Department at Queen’s University. She
received her Master’s degree from Lakehead University. Her dissertation works on the
intersections between the queer and the animal in late-Victorian and Edwardian children’s literature, focusing on texts such as The Wind in the Willows, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. Her project focuses on the ways hybridity and the child’s kinship with animals transgress boundaries of heteronormativity. This project also points to the difference in attitudes towards queer hybridity in adult texts, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and in children’s texts in the Victorian period. Alicia’s research interests include representations of queer and animal bodies in Victorian literature. She is also interested in representations of monstrosity and of the body more broadly.