Freaks
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Freaks

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The slides for a presentation I gave in Leicester, for the Alterity and Abjection-workshop.

The slides for a presentation I gave in Leicester, for the Alterity and Abjection-workshop.

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Freaks Freaks Presentation Transcript

  • Commodifying Alterity – On Creating the Abject and Turning Oneself Into a Freak alfrehn
  • The many roles of the Other
  • “The Mule-Faced Woman”  Grace McDaniels 1888-1958  Sufferer of Sturge-Weber syndrome  Professional freak
  • Fanny Mills  Sufferer of Milroy disease  Promotors offered $5000 and a farm to anyone willing to marry her  Professional freak
  • I.W. Sprague  Claimed to weigh 21 kg at age 29  Professional thin- man
  • Zip  The pinhead  The “What Is It?”
  • The typology of freaks  The sideshow differentiated between the made and the born freaks  Born freaks, due to their rarity, were held in the highest esteem  But all freaks needed to be made into freaks, through careful identity-work and branding
  • Commercial Alterity  Freakery – changing our gaze  The construction of alterity: backstory, emphasis, closure  Can the freak speak?
  • Modern mores
  • New fascinations  Writing Otherness in  Neocapitalism and appropriating the Other
  • The freak today
  • Why does this matter?   Alterity comes in many forms, and can even be a “desired” state   The commodification of alterity is a complex process, with many modes of production   The study of alterity needs to keep studying the ways in which the Other creates her own difference   Note, however, the danger of relativizing alterity and abjection – where’s the power?
  • an alfrehn production