Dr. M. Catherine Jonet
Office: Breland Hall, Rm. 254A
Fall Office Hours: Online and by Appointment
Education: Ph.D., English (Critical Theory and Cultural Studies) with a Graduate Minor in Women’s Studies, 2007 (Purdue University); M.A., English with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, 2001 (Indiana State University); M.A., The Humanities, 2000 (Indiana State University); M.A., French Language and Literature, 1995 (Indiana State University); B.A., French Language and Literature, 1993 (Indiana State University)
Teaching and Research Interests: Critical Theory (gender/feminist, queer, postcolonial/diasporic, disability studies/feminisms); Cultural Studies (Feminist Popular Cultures and Feminisms/Gender/Sexuality in Popular Cultures, Visual/Film Studies, Digital Feminisms/Humanities); 20th and 21st century Anglophone (North American/Diasporic) and Francophone Literatures (Contemporary Literatures, Graphic Narrative, Experimental Textual Practices by Women and Queers)
Courses Taught: Feminist Theory; Introduction to Women’s Studies; Gender and Graphic Narrative; Alternative Genders and Sexualities; WS Special Topics and Cross-Listed Courses with English: Gender, Feminism, and Popular Culture; Digital Feminisms: Feminist New Media (formally called: Cyberfeminisims: Feminist Digital Cultures); Postmodernism and Gender; Feminist Aesthetics; Sexuality and Literature
Research: I use critical theory to unpack cultural representations of gender, desire, same-sex sexuality, and race in creative media (literature, film/tv studies, and visual representation). I am very interested in texts that can be described as “queer” (in one form or another) by female cultural producers. These texts often trouble received knowledges about gender, class, sexuality, and nation; they also often trouble literary and filmic narrative conventions.
About My Classes: My courses are first and foremost spaces for critical thinking about signifying practices. They are built around the different interpretations of meaning, the underlying significations of discourses and texts, asking questions, and thinking through ideas and cultural logics. We become close readers of text/discourses (literary, visual, theoretical, cultural) and use discussion (in essays and as a group) to unpack and (in)form meaning. Our analytical method seeks to give thoughtful attention to what is said, how it is said, what is implied, and what/who is discussed as well as the endeavor to understand why. Students support ideas with details, quotes, and reflective interpretations of texts/meanings.
Even when the unpacking of texts/discourses and meanings feels heady, we work toward careful understanding as process. I think this fun example represents the kinds of reflective thinking and critical reading strategies I want my courses to help shape for students. Moreover, since I study, research, and teach about thought as well as cultural production (literature, film, art), my students get the opportunity to encounter alternative understandings and representations of identity and experience; beauty and the aesthetic; joy, pleasure, meaning-making, and even trauma from what is presented in dominant or mainstream discourses. In short, studying through a Humanities approach gives us the possibility to see ourselves, societies and cultures in which we live/engage, and each other in new ways because it unsettles what we think we know; it gives us the tools to accept multiple meanings and ambiguities; and it empowers us with practices that enable a philosophical literacy of social structures and works of the imagination. To paraphrase Jacques Lacan, it is the world of words, images, and underlying meanings that creates the world of things.
I am as interested in the methods used by Judith Butler in her different critical analyses as by what she writes. For me, we can learn a great deal by studying Butler’s moves and ethical/textual/critical practices-although we might find the process challenging. I find myself often “teaching Butler” to students, even if we are not literally reading her works, since I learn so much from the ways she asks questions and how she troubles received meanings (even her own). Her practice of returning to concepts and reframing ideas is of great interest to me because it shows a thinker in constant process and becomes a way to help students engage with multiple meanings.
- “At the Interstices of Diaspora: Queering the Long Story Short in Caribbean Literature by Women” Contemporary Essays on the Postcolonial Short Story Edited by Paul March-Russell and Maggie Awadalla. London: Palgrave Macmillian, 2013.
- “Reconfigurations of The L Word.” with Laura Anh Williams. Televising Queer Women 2nd Edition. Edited by Rebecca Beirne. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
- “Our Graphics, Ourselves: Graphic Narrative and the Gender Studies Classroom” Critical Approaches to Teaching Graphic Narratives in the Literature Classroom Edited by Lan Dong. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2012.
- “‘Everything else is the same’: Configurations of The L Word” (with Laura Anh Williams). Televising Queer Women. Edited by Rebecca Beirne. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
- “‘She Doesn’t Know the Truth About Me’: ‘The shaping presence’ of the Closet in Amma Darko’s Beyond the Horizon. Critical Essays on Gender and Sexuality in African Literature and Film. Edited by Ada U. Azodo. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2006.
- “‘Divan of Tamarit’ by Federico García Lorca.” in Comparative Criticism Vol. 22. Edited by E.S. Shaffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000
Select Paper Presentations:
- “Deneuve, Junon: Constructing Adult Motherhood in Un Conte de Noël and Après Lui.” Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, Albuquerque, NM, February 2012.
- “Fear, Dread, and Girlhood in Hadzihalilovic’s Innocence and Breillat’s Barbe Bleue.” Joint meeting of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association and Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, San Antonio, TX, March 2011.
- “Grief of the Mother: The Incomprehensibility of Loss in Graphic Narrative by Lilli Carré and Megan Kelso.” Annual Cultural Studies Association Conference, Chicago, April 2011.
- “Electra Becomes Queer Mourning: Grief and the Father in Bechdel’s Fun Home and Gottlieb’s Jokes and the Unconscious” The Third Biennial International Conference of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Network In Collaboration with San Diego State University, July 2010
- “Of the Domesticity of Queers: Reimaging Family in Stacey D’Erasmo’s A Seahorse Year” 8th Annual Cultural Studies Association Conference at Berkeley, California, March 2010.
- “Revolutionary Assemblages: Riot Grrrl and the Making of Postmodern Feminist Culture,” Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association, Boston, MA, November 2009.
Teaching Honor: The Teaching Academy at NMSU has selected Dr. Jonet’s teaching philosophy to be featured on their website.
Select Creative Work:
Select Honors, Performances, and Awards:
Short Film (director, creator of original score)
- Dr. Jonet’s film short A Word to Young Ladies has been selected to be screened at the Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival and has also been awarded an honorable mention in the documentary category.
- A Word to Young Women, a film short created by Dr. Jonet with an original score also by her debuted at the 2013 Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival. The short mixes ephemeral films with a 1942 Superman cartoon to “light-heartedly disrupt that special moment directed at young women ubiquitous to the ‘puberty film’ genre by letting loose (so to speak) the irrepressible presence of same-sex desire and resistance to gender norms [. . .] [T]he film playfully employs a technique reminiscent of legendary lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer by manipulating archival footage to make queer women’s presence in society more visible. This splicing and cobbling together is done to create alternative narratives about gender and sexuality from primary sources.”
Short Film (co-director with Laura Anh Williams, and score creator)
- Third Prize Audience Award for Best Short Film, Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival for film, A Field Guide, 2006.
- TransRex: Drag Kinging and Camp, Concurrent Film Festival, Trans/Positions: A Conference on Feminist Inquiry in Transit, Purdue University, IN, 2005
- Threads, Concurrent Film Festival, Trans/Positions, 2005
- Building on Stonewall: Queer Activism in the Bush Years, American Studies Symposium, Purdue University, IN, 2004
- Chainsaw: Technologies of Gender and Horror, Women’s Studies Lecture Series, Purdue University, IN, 2003
- Translation of poetry collection, Divan of Tamarit by Federico García Lorca. Published in Comparative Criticism Vol. 22. Ed. E.S. Shaffer by Cambridge University Press in 2000.
- Third Prize (joint), British Comparative Literature Association and the British Centre for Literary Translation, Cambridge University in 1998 for translation of Lorca.
Sound Art/Electronic Music
- “Cinematica,” in Chance, a multi-media program of music, dance and video. No Strings Attached Theatre Company, Black Box Theater, Las Cruces, NM, June 2010.
- “Sounding Off: History and Third Wave Praxis,” Women’s Studies Noon Lecture Series, Purdue University, IN, 2001 (sound art)
- “Third Wave, Sound Wave,” Colloquium on Sex and Gender, Indiana State University, IN, 2001
- “Virtual Real: Sound Art, Feminist Art,” Fifth Annual Undergraduate/Graduate Research Showcase, Indiana State University, IN, 2001
- “End Credits, Dead Air: Gender, Sexual Violence, and Experiencing Film,” Colloquium on Sex and Gender, Indiana State University, IN, 2000 (sound/visual)
Quotes to Share
In a Student’s Words: “I liked the texts, “Feminist Theory,” and “King Kong Theory.” However, I equally loved engaging in class discussion and journaling. There was not one facet of this course, which I found to be tiresome or to be a chore. Anytime I had to miss the class, I felt like I was leaving a space where my contribution to the learning community suffered and if others were missing I felt the same. Dr. Jonet’s classes always end in the group feeling like a family, so I know I will miss engagement with my fellow learners.”
On the Unsettling Possiblities of the Humanities and the Arts: “My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish.” -Joyce Carol Oates
On Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities (I live with trigeminal neuralgia): “But pushing our bodies and minds excessively means something different to people with chronic illnesses: it means danger, risk of relapse, hospitalization, long-lasting or permanent damage to our capacities to function (as for some people with MS). And sometimes it is simply impossible; people get too tired to sit up, to think, to speak, to listen, and there are no reserves of energy to call upon.” -Susan Wendell in “Unhealthy Disabled: Treating Chronic Illnesses as Disabilities”