Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Berger, Douglas


Traditional theories of gender performativity, grounded in the tradition of Judith Butler, fail to capture the experience of encountering a gendered subject. By reducing gender to a series of discursive acts and ignoring the aesthetic dimension of gender, these theories neglect the possibility for alternative gender performances divorced from the materiality of the body, except through acknowledging the ficticious nature of gender as a consequence of citational acts. In contrast, this dissertation presents a theory of gender as aware, or the “aboutness” that emerges through the repeated citational acts that make present gender in our lived experience. Gender, therefore, does not possess any ontological essence except insofar as it is articulated by citational practices, without which it cannot exist. To this end, this dissertation argues for an expansion of our discourse on gender through appealing to Japanese aesthetic and poetic concepts of aware and mono no aware to demonstrate the aesthetic nature of gender. In so doing this dissertation will present gender as fundamentally aesthetic through appeal to no, kabuki, and the Takarazuka Revue, all sites which divorced gender form biological sex for the purpose of an aesthetic praxis.




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