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McLaughlin Memorial Lecture: Dr. Alicia Andrzejewski

“Queer Pregnancy in Shakespeare’s Plays: All’s Well That Ends Well”

5:15 pm
Great Plains Art Museum
1155 Q Street
Lincoln NE 68508
Directions: 11th and Q Streets
Kelly Stage,
Sponsored by the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, the McLaughlin Memorial Lecture honors Mary Martin McLaughlin, a pioneer of pre-modern European women’s studies and University of Nebraska alum.

Dr. Andrzejewski’s talk, “Queer Pregnancy in Shakespeare’s Plays: All’s Well That Ends Well” will focus on the pregnant body as conspicuously absent in queer readings of Shakespeare’s work. Early modern scholars who explore homoerotic desire have attended to queer attractions, cohabitations, and alliances in Shakespeare’s plays. To date, however, scholars interested in LGBTQ+ lives tend to read representations of pregnancy in early modern literature as commensurate with heterosexual sex, desire, and partnership. And while feminist scholars have illuminated Shakespeare’s images of pregnancy in innovative ways, these readings usually conflate pregnancy with maternity and rarely address the relationship between pregnancy and what Judith Bennet calls “lesbian-like” intimacies and communities. Using All’s Well That Ends Well as a case study, Dr. Andrezewski will demonstrate how the heteronormative frameworks through which pregnancy continues to be read dull the transgressive force of pregnancy in Shakespeare’s work and the expansive ways in which early moderns thought about the pregnant body. She will call upon the concept of “queer pregnancy” to reorient scholars to pregnancy in Shakespeare’s plays and beyond. As an idea, “queer pregnancy” outlines how high the stakes are for pregnant people who continue to be read and treated through perspectives that do not take queer bodies, identities, and experiences into account.

An assistant professor in William & Mary’s English department, Dr. Andrzejewski is a scholar of cultural studies and critical theory with an expertise in Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the medical humanities, and performance studies. Her peer-reviewed work has appeared in Shakespeare Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin, and The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, and she has also published on her scholarship in online literary magazines such as Literary Hub, American Theater, and Electric Literature. Her current book project is Queer Pregnancy in Shakespeare’s Plays, which argues for the transgressive force of pregnancy in Shakespeare’s oeuvre. In addition, she writes creative nonfiction on everything from houseplants to Machine Gun Kelly to serpent handling, for publications such as The Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Catapult, Outside Magazine, and LA Review of Books.

Additional Public Info:
Free and open to the public. An informal reception will follow the event.

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This event originated in English.