Ellington Beavers Award Presentation: Non-binary Bodies, Spaces, and Selves in Long Nineteenth Century American Gothic Fiction

By Caitlin T. Burns | January 21, 2019

Ellington Beavers Award for Intellectual Inquiry recipient Lawrence Lorraine Mullen ’19MFA  will present their research, “Non-binary Bodies, Spaces, and Selves in Long Nineteenth Century American Gothic Fiction,” to the University community on Jan. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Castle Dining Room.

Using two nineteenth century texts, The Hermaphrodite and Wieland, Mullen analyzed what it means for characters and spaces to be “non-binary,” through the concepts of grotesque and monstrous as methodological tools to examine the intricacies of these transgressions of a larger cisheteronormative structure. The research is based on Mullen’s interest in theories about gothic literature inverting gender stereotypes, however their analysis further asks the question about what does it look like from a non-binary or non-normative bodies perspective.

“It’s about intent– how we talk about grotesque thing and taking a kinder look at it,” said Mullen. “You can examine it as grotesque, but you don’t need to use language that is hurtful.”

Mullen’s research was funded by the Ellington Beavers Award, which is presented to students for research projects that exemplify the substantial intellectual inquiry inherent in excellent research. This award was established in honor of Dr. Ellington Beavers for his distinguished service.