Headshot of Graduate Eric Disbro.

Graduate Spring 2022: Eric Disbro

Terraqueous Encounters: Queer and Trans Embodiment and Care in Francophone Literatures of the Indian Ocean and Oceania

Department of French and Francophone Studies & Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

In my project, I argue that Indian Ocean and Oceanian literary representations of queer and trans embodiment and care practices decenter European and North American systems of medically assisted gender transition and privatized industrial forms of care. I examine these textual interventions in tandem with maritime knowledges of convergence that take the shape of terraqueous allegories of encounter (i.e. reefs, tributaries, sandbars, ocean waves, and tidepools). This comparative approach allows for a humanities-based intervention in ecocriticism and studies of the Anthropocene that valorizes the imaginaries of island writers who have continuously engaged with issues of normative genders, sexualities, and ecological devastation born of empire. I focus on such representations in the works of writers Ananda Devi (Mauritius), Magali N. Marson (Madagascar), Déwé Gorodé (Kanaky/New Caledonia), Chantal T. Spitz (Te Ao Mā’ohi/French Polynesia), and Titaua Peu (Te Ao Mā’ohi/French Polynesia) whose treatments of queer and trans subjects have yet to be undertaken as primary areas of inquiry. Following a theoretical introduction to the project largely based in queer/trans of color critique, maritime epistemologies/multispecies feminism, and francophone literary studies, my chapters examine trans embodiment and decolonization of the teleology of medically assisted transition, narrative genre and the ethics of transfeminine representation, queer intimacies and creolizing care networks, and queer/trans allegories of the divine for the Anthropocene.