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Constructions of Bisexuality in Irish Women's Writing since 1995 (2023-)

Elisa Haf, Research Area 1: "Competing Communities"
Doctoral Research Project

This project explores constructions of bisexuality in the novels of three Irish women writers: Emma Donoghue, Sally Rooney, and Naoise Dolan. It contextualises this exploration in light of the novels' specifically Irish cultural background, while also interrogating the supranational discourses of sexuality in which the novels are implicated by virtue of their global readership. It is particularly interested in the discursive (and affective) implications of how the novels' differing constructions of bisexuality project differing imaginaries of the broader sexual and relational landscapes in which those constructions are embedded, and call fourth differing readerly investments in possibilities for the sexual future. Identifying a contemporary trend for bisexual protagonists, especially in women's writing, the project also asks what difference it makes to refract these imaginaries and investments through the prism of this specific form of queerness. It contributes to the research agenda of the "Temporal Communities" cluster of excellence by examining the evolving place of "queer community" in the constructions of bisexuality under discussion, especially in the face of growing queer accommodation or seeming accommodation by the "imagined community" of the nation. In seeking to better understand the terms of this rapprochement, the tensions still latent within it, and the role literature can play in masking, mediating, or exposing these, it makes a particular contribution to the Research Area 1:  "Competing Communities".