Rape and the (animal) other: making monsters in J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace

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Moffat, Nicola Jane
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University Of Chicago Press
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This article proposes a new theoretical category, the “monstrative,” which is used both as a way to explain the performative acts that produce a monster and as a point of departure for feminist ontologies seeking a more positive model of identity formation. As such, I contrast monstrative acts, the theory of which is based on Judith Butler’s understanding of performativity, with a positive reading of Deleuzean becoming, which in turn is based on Rosi Braidotti’s feminist conceptualization of becoming-monster. In order to demonstrate both monstrativity and becoming-monster at work, I use J. M. Coetzee’s 1999 Booker Prize–winning novel Disgrace as an illustration of the monstrative acts of narrative discourse and rape, and the atoning effects of becoming-monster. I conclude that there are two types of monster: one that is produced through violent and injurious acts and another that is a hybrid being, made possible through sympathizing with the abject other.
Monstrative , Performative Acts , Becoming-monster , Feminist
Moffat, N. (2018) 'Rape and the (animal) other: making monsters in J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace', Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 43(2), pp. 401-423. doi: 10.1086/693553
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