Femme Working

Reenvisioning History Through the Subaltern (2017)

Femme Working : Reenvisioning History Through the Subaltern is an undergraduate thesis submitted to the faculty of Wesleyan University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a BA with Departmental Honors in Dance. Dance theses require at least 80-100 pages in written research, and a performance piece of at least ten minutes duration constructed per semester.

This thesis work was advised by Katja Kolcio (Ph.D., Ohio State University) and received departmental High Honors distinction. Kolcio writes on this work, "[Elle Hong’s] thesis is an inquiry into the forces of ‘history’ and the possibilities of reimagining history in order to create new and less oppressive worlds. In the written component of the thesis, [Elle] presents and elucidates the (colonizing) impact that history as a singular narrative imposes. This is accomplished through an autoethnographic account that weaves personal and family history with larger social-political and historical contexts. They identify the following operational concepts as central to the project: memory/forgetting, silence/communication, training/pedagogy/ritual, and control, as necessary for the construction of that singular historical account, and through rich description offers the reader specific and concrete examples illustrating the way in which these concepts function in real contexts ranging from the family dinner table to the international migration of people. [Elle] elucidates the forces of history in very compelling terms, namely through beautiful storytelling and unconventional narrative forms that juxtapose seemingly disparate events, perspectives and issues (migration, CCD education, colonization and empires, reality television, sexual desire) in order to make visible the forces that simultaneously permeate all of those contexts, engendering compliance to the system and distinguishing normal from ‘other’ than normal."

If you would like an ARC of my thesis manuscript, please feel free to email rhmanayan[at]gmail[dot]com. To view the performance works created in conjunction with this thesis, please visit the following links:

Semester One, “UTOPIA01_SH3.wrld
Semester Two, “GET OFF


ABSTRACT : American history has for long substantiated its legitimacy through enforced repression against the subaltern. The work of the individual who has been queer(ed) by Western constructions of history then becomes an endless process of reframing the self in relation to these constructs, allowing for a cyclical reconstitution of whiteness as normative. Through autoethnography, queer phenomenology, poetry, lyric essay, and performance, Femme Working : Reenvisioning History Through the Subaltern utilizes an engagement with self-formation that positions the queer(ed) self as a subject of historical analysis, a (pro/re)clamation of existence in a world that works towards eradicating difference. This work, through written and movement research, explores the potentialities of queer utopian idealism and actuality, a radical engagement of experience and emotion that reconfigures power in the worlds happening around and through us.
______keywords: subaltern, phenomenology, autoethnography, praxis, utopia