Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Womens Studies

Major Professor

Diane Price Herndl, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kimberly Golombisky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Green, Ph.D.


Disability Studies, Crip Theory, Queer Theory, Embodiment, Feminist Literary Criticism


The grotesque has long been utilized in literature as a means for subverting societal constraints and inverting constructions of normalcy. Unfortunately, in many instances, it has been constructed at the expense of disabled characters using their embodiment as metaphorical plot devices rather than social and political agents. Criticism of the grotesque’s use of bodily difference has prompted this analytical project in order to rethink disability as socially and politically positioned within texts, rather than simply aesthetics for symbolic means. The aim of this paper is to explore the ways the literary grotesque can be reread using queer theory and crip theory as frameworks for constructing agential disabled embodiments in Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love. Ultimately, the potential of queer and crip interventions necessitates an examination of the systems of power disabled subjects operate within in these narratives.