Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dougherty, Jane Elizabeth


This dissertation focuses on the empowerment and disempowerment of the female body during the Troubles of Northern Ireland (1969-1998). It explores the ways that visual texts – mainly film and theater – expose, explain, and challenge the denigrating perceptions of the female body that prevailed during and after the prison protests of the early 1980s for special category status. In each of my four chapters, I examine a Troubles film or drama via French Feminist Julia Kristeva’s theorization of the female body as an abject threat to patriarchy. This dissertation utilizes the theory of abjection as a way to explain the elision of the female body, manifested as the so-called “dirty” protester, the mother and wife of the hunger striker, and the transgender female, from the pages of history, but with the ultimate goal of challenging the very perception of the female body as inherently abject.




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