112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

The Pedagogical Abilities of Sherlock: A Tool to Decolonize Sexuality

Ashley Morford, Simon Fraser University, Canada

In this paper, I explore the BBC series Sherlock and its fan engagement through the lens of indigenous and queer studies to argue that the series can help us not only understand the sexual colonization of Western society but can ultimately decolonize prevalent notions of sexuality.

Proposal: 

Ashley Morford is a Master’s student in English at Simon Fraser University (Coast Salish Territory, British Columbia, Canada). She holds a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarship and the Simon Fraser Provost Prize of Distinction. Her particular interest is in exploring how British crime fiction and North American indigenous crime fiction can work with and against one another to operate as a decolonizing power.

 

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The Pedagogical Abilities of Sherlock: A Tool to Decolonize Sexuality

Increasingly, indigenous studies and queer studies have been working together as a tool for sexual decolonization.When I say sexual decolonization, I am referring to the challenging and undoing of heteronormative ideologies. As defined in Queer Indigenous Studies, heteronormativity is “the normalizing and privileging of patriarchal heterosexuality and its…sexual expressions” (19). While the events within the BBC television series Sherlock seemingly reinforce heteronormativity, the show has nevertheless proven to be a pedagogical tool that has inspired viewers to engage with, question, challenge, and ultimately “re-learn” understandings of sexuality. The show’s pedagogical abilities can be seen through the meta discussions and fan art permeating the online blogosphere: from fanfiction devoted to romantically and sexually pairing (or “shipping”) characters to visual art pieces posted in inspiration of fan-created events like “Red Pants Monday,” a day honouring Dr. John Watson’s red underwear. In this paper, I explore Sherlock and its fan engagement through the lens of indigenous and queer studies to argue that the series can help us not only understand the sexual colonization of Western society but can ultimately decolonize prevalent notions of sexuality.

 

Works Cited

Driskill, Qwo-Li, Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley, & Scott Lauria Morgensen. “Introduction.” Queer Indigenous Studies. Critical Interventions in Theory, Practice, Politics, and Literature. Ed. Qwo-Li Driskill, Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley, & Scott Lauria Morgensen. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2011. 1-28. Print. 

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