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Title:Spanish transitions: representation of transgender characters in Spanish film
Author(s):Roig Mora, Arnau
Director of Research:Valdivia, Angharad
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Valdivia, Angharad
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Coll-Planas, Gerard; Rodriguez, Richard; Treichler, Paula
Department / Program:Inst of Communications Rsch
Discipline:Communications and Media
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)
Cultural studies
Abstract:This dissertation examines the different representations of transgender characters in Spanish cinema since their appearance in the 1970s up until today. The history of Spain in the last forty years, with its radical political changes, yields extremely fertile transgender case studies, especially in Spanish films, which become sites of struggle and negotiation of meaning, definition and understanding of gender, sex and sexuality. The cases in which transgender characters have been protagonists of Spanish movies –and thus explored and portrayed in more depth- give us first-hand information on the different ways of thinking about gender, and the different ways of thinking and picturing a topic that was previously hidden from the public arena. Furthermore, the systems of codes and analogies that a culture uses and reproduces in its media are a perfect site to further investigate the sets of beliefs that a society holds true or privileges over others as defining traits. In order to do such investigation, this dissertation develops three archetypes of representation that classify and make sense of all the movies and their representations, highlighting the recurring tropes, narrative tools or privileged ideological discourses embedded in them. By organizing the titles in archetypes, but also paying attention to their temporality and social changes around transgender issues, this dissertation investigates the codification and representation of transgenderism in Spanish film as a site for discursive formation of the transgender identity, but also as a space of social struggle for the meaning of sex, gender and sexuality. The two first archetypes (the Criminal and the Patient) correspond to representations with a heavy reliance on the legal or medical situation of the character respectively, whereas the third one (the Empowered) lets us see how representation can transcend medical and legal definitions and give autonomy and a voice to the character that the previous two somehow negate. Furthermore, the three of them overlap in some of the movies, negating the possibility of fixed and monolithic categories, and highlighting the limits of these archetypes, which are used as a tool to understand the different discourses rather than classify and label each of the characters. This dissertation, then, explores the different representations or archetypes that are used to portray transgender people through the case studies found in contemporary Spanish cinema, with the goal of unpacking the continuities and ruptures of sex and gender politics in the last 40 years of political change in Spain.
Issue Date:2017-04-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Arnau Roig Mora
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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