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British Academy Fellowship for Dr Dominic Janes

Dr Dominic Janes, Senior Lecturer in Birkbeck’s Department of History of Art and Screen Media, has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for a project on queer visibility at the end of the nineteenth century.

This research project explores the visual culture of the ‘spectacle of the closet’ outlined in relation to literature. It will look at the ways in which homosexuals were depicted and visually presented themselves before and after the trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895.

The project will also explore the visual aspects of the emergence of gay liberation, which involved attempting to imagine, depict and interrogate the space of the closet itself.

Dr Janes will look specifically at the work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, whose 1990 book, Epistemology of the Closet, was considered a pioneering work in the field of queer studies. He will consider the spectacle of the closet in Sedgwick’s work on the character of the Baron de Charlus in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu. Proust was one of the first European writers to deal with homosexuality at length in his work.

The Fellowship, worth £80,000, will begin in October 2013 and last for one year.

Dr Janes said: “At a time when same-sex marriage is hitting the news headlines round the world issues of the visibility of same-sex love and desire are of key cultural interest and I am delighted that the British Academy is supporting Birkbeck’s work in this area”.

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Published: 07 May 2013