Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

jackie Byars


This project explores the trend of bodily and identity modification in the contemporary Hollywood musical and calls for a re-reading of the genre away from the standard classification, that of one strictly imbued with wistful nostalgia and heteronormativity. This work argues that several films have abrogated these traditional ideals to create a carnivalesque representation of the societal norms through a genre, and a production code that sought to preserve them. Using the work of Russian semiotician Mikhail Bakhtin, this project reveals that these films feature dark and satirical para-realities of murder, debauchery and cannibalism that act as a catharsis to their audiences' most salient fantasies and desires.