The Spring 2001 recipients are as follows:
Project Title: Plath/Mouth
Project Description: Plath/Mouth is a new one-woman play, produced for the Oberlin College Theater and Dance 'Hoop Series' in Little Theater, February 2000. Written, directed, and performed by Jessie Marshall ('01), Plath/Mouth is an examination of female adolescence, gender, and artistic aspiration, based on the life of the poet Sylvia Plath. The performance investigates the multiple personae that exist within a single self by blending the identities of Sylvia Plath and the performer, both of whom have many roles to play in their lives and many expectations to fulfill. Their parallel struggles to find their own voice is contextualized by an extremely performative environment that includes film, video, dance, puppetry, original music, and a live band. These elements combine with literature, history, and autobiography to form the structure for a dialogue between performer and audience.
Project Title: Lesbian Gender Identity in Holland, German, Poland, and England: A Comparative Study
Project Description: Butch/femme and queer gender are necessarily complex identities; in a cross-cultural study, they can only be more so. In my three months researching queer women's gender in four European countries, I found both similarities and differences. I traveled through Holland, Germany, Poland, and England and conducted nineteen in-depth oral history interviews with queer women. I met the majority of my subjects in queer bars; in cities without bars, I contacted lesbian information services to find film nights, potlucks, and other community events. Because America and England dominate the literature on butch/femme and queer gender, I used interviews with academic scholars of queer theory in each country to supplement my oral history interviews. I found these conversations useful in situating my oral history interviews within historical and political contexts specific to each country. In general, I found relatively consistent definitions of butch/femme across cultures, in terms of performed identities, eroticism, and core identities. I encountered similar arguments for and against butch/femme relationships in each country. Yet I found that historical and political differences influenced the ways that butch/femme played out. Generational differences in butch/femme identities depend largely on the historical contexts of feminism and social movements in each country.