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Between the Gothic and Surveillance: Gay (Male) Identity, Fiction Film, and Pornography (1970-2015)


Between the Gothic and Surveillance: Gay (Male) Identity, Fiction Film, and Pornography (1970-2015)

Tziallas, Evangelos (2015) Between the Gothic and Surveillance: Gay (Male) Identity, Fiction Film, and Pornography (1970-2015). PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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In this thesis I make the case for rethinking fictional and explicit queer representation as a form of surveillance. I put recent research in surveillance studies, particularly work on informational doubling, in conversation with the concepts of the uncanny and the doppelgänger to reconsider the legacy of screen theory and cinematic discipline in relation to the ongoing ideological struggle between normativity and queerness. I begin my investigation in and around the Stonewall era examining the gothic roots and incarnation of gay identity. I then trace the formation and development of identity through cinematic and pornographic representation taking critical snapshots of four identifiable epochs organized around a seismic socio-political disjuncture: after Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign in the late 70s and early 80s; during the AIDS crisis between the mid-80s and mid-90s; after the AIDS crisis in the late 90s when family politics took centre stage; and in the midst of the “bareback crisis” in the new millennium.
I argue that in order to understand the crisis in contemporary queer cultural politics heavily influenced by the rupture in uniform safer-sex practices we must trace the lineage of figurative identity through fiction and hard core film back to its post-Stonewall incarnation. It is my ultimate contention that the strategic deployment of homogeneous identity via social, personal, and sexual identification with the image double became a way to control the streets without having to be on the streets. Mainstream(ed) representation became, and remains, a brilliantly insidious form of social engineering and not a path toward liberation and freedom. Homosexuality exists outside the field of the visible, but the gay and queer do not. I argue that through film and porn metaphysical identities were strategically manufactured which queer individuals were and are compelled and convinced to identify with and mimic, culminating in an ideological and representational schism in the twenty-first century whose effect on lived experience has had significant consequences.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Tziallas, Evangelos
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Film and Moving Image Studies
Date:30 October 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Waugh, Thomas
Keywords:surveillance; gothic; pornography; gay male; uncanny; cinema
ID Code:980721
Deposited On:16 Jun 2016 15:50
Last Modified:22 Jul 2019 22:28
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