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Canonical transgressions: queering the lady-warriors

Grant number: 18/19521-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2019
Effective date (End): April 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Other Vernacular Literatures
Principal Investigator:Mário César Lugarinho
Grantee:Helder Thiago Cordeiro Maia
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The lady-warriors are a literary and historical paradigm. From the selected literary texts and literary criticism, we consider that the two of their main characteristics are: going to war as a soldier and the transvestiment that guarantees them to live and be recognized as men. In a more restricted way, we will say that the transvestiment is provisional, although long. From the methodology of Dekker and Van de Pol (2006), we will take the transvestiment experience as a reading device. In this sense, we will organize our reading from the time of duration and the meaning of the transvestiment of the characters. We also consider that literary criticism has made an uncritical use of this concept, naming all women who escape the normative standards of femininity as lady-warrior which has demeaned this paradigm. We also believe that there is a simplification of the criticism in reading these characters from psychoanalysis, which has reduced and homogenized the differences through an analytical model that has been mechanically applied and has shown little critical power in the face of the various expressions of gender of these characters. Thus, we have two main objectives: to queering the reading of literary criticism about the lady-warrior and to propose a restricted use of this paradigm, unfolding it in four other paradigmatic characters: the "masculine women", the "female warriors", "lady-warrior" and the "transvestite-warrior". In this perspective, to queer means to fail the hegemonic literary criticism in what it has of binary and pathologizing, to make audible these literary lives from what they have of their own. In addition, departing from Halberstam's (2008) propositions, we are interested in analyzing these lives from the idea that masculinity is not restricted to bodies with phallus. Thus, from fifteen Brazilian, Angolan, Portuguese and Hispanic texts, which literary criticism has named as narratives of lady-warrior, we will analyze which paradigm the characters belong to and which masculinity they experience. Finally, we will also analyze their place in colonial struggles and in the formation of national literary identities and canons.

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