Julia Kreutzer – Investigating the Presence of Homonationalism in Contemporary American Theatre

Hi all! My name is Julia Kreutzer and I use she/her pronouns. I’m a rising senior double majoring in English writing on the nonfiction track and political science with a minor in theatre arts. During the pandemic, my obsession with the Food Network culminated in my picking up cooking again, and now, food has become one of my biggest passions.

My research project is the second in a series of projects focused on the connections between queer identity politics and the American theatre, overseen by Dr. Patrick McKelvey of the Theatre Arts Department. Last summer, I was a part of the Office of Undergraduate Research’s Summer Undergraduate Research Award Cohort where I studied the impact of the Queer Liberation Movement on the development and popularity of LGBTQ+ centric theatre in the late twentieth century. I found that theatre can have a profoundly positive impact on the normalization of various sexual identities. This summer, I’ll be looking into the other side of the coin, studying ways theatre can be used as a propagandist tool to further homonationalist ideologies. In essence, I’ll be studying the ways that prominent nations use their status as “LGBTQ-accepting” to excuse or justify other human rights abuses or politically unpopular actions. Theatre serves as a particularly interesting lens to explore this issue, as the theatre industry has become increasingly exploited to promote this political ideology, often called “pink washing”. By understanding the ways theater can be used both positively and negatively in the public perception of queer citizens, theatre-makers and theatre- goers alike can promote socially conscious theatre that helps further their advocacy. 

After I graduate next spring, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies in an effort to become a theatre professor. As a lifelong theatre lover, I have always wanted to keep this art form in my life; but I am also passionate about academia, advocacy, and writing. This field serves as a means to compile all of these varied interests in a cohesive, exciting career. Research is often at the center of these programs; the opportunity to complete an independent, interdisciplinary research project in my undergraduate career is an essential step in not only the application process, but the success of my career as a whole. The Brackenridge Fellowship in particular is an incredible way for me to pursue my own research while getting an in-depth glimpse into how research manifests across various fields and mediums. 

I am truly looking forward to meeting you all and learning about the important research everyone is pursuing!

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