Gronbeck Memorial Lecture with Dr. Bernadette Calafell

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 3:45pm
Becker Communication Studies Building
Room 203
25 South Madison Street
Iowa City, IA 52245

The Department of Communication Studies and the Bruce Gronbeck Rhetoric Society (the student Rhetoric Society of America chapter) has invited Dr. Bernadette Calafell, Professor at the University of Denver, to deliver the annual Gronbeck Lecture. Dr. Calafell's research is centered on women of color feminisms, queer of color theories, monstrosity, performance studies, and critical rhetoric, which makes her an excellent choice for a program deeply invested in groundbreaking scholarship on diversity and social justice.

Monstrous Erasure: Quare Femme (In)visibility in Get Out

W. Scott Poole and Kendall Phillips have argued for understanding the role of horror in reflecting (white) U.S. cultural anxieties around race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. With the emergence of horror films, both domestic and international, such as American Mary (2012), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), The Babadook (2014), It Follows (2014), The Witch (2015), Get Out (2017) we are in the midst of what some might term a horror renaissance. These films, emerge out of and away from the torture porn format that has dominated the genre post-9/11. A product of post-racial and post-feminist discourses, and in the era of #blacklivesmatter, Jordan Peele’s Get Out lays bare trauma (both historical and its present day reverberations), racism, and white liberal oppression. However, what is often overlooked is the erasure of Georgina, the quare femme character, who is used as a plot device to further a narrative that centers blackness within the realm of masculinity and as the central site of historical trauma. Through a queer of color critique (Johnson; Keeling) and building on work on Blackness and horror (Brooks; Means Coleman), I explore the (im)possibilities of the quare femme, considering what we might learn if we center her narrative.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Those interested in critical race studies, queer theory, feminist theory, critical identity scholarship, media studies, communication studies, rhetoric and public culture, or film and horror may be especially interested. 

Hosted by the Bruce Gronbeck Rhetoric Society and the Department of Communication Studies, with support from the Obermann Center