Dr Geoffrey Maguire is a Fellow in Spanish at Gonville and Caius College and an Affiliated Lecturer with the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (MMLL). He specialises in contemporary Latin American film, literature and visual art, with particular interests in cultural memory, queer representation, and sexuality and gender. He is the author of The Politics of Postmemory (2017) and Bodies of Water (2024), as well as the co-editor of New Visions of Adolescence (2018). Within the University, Geoffrey sits on the Steering Committee of Cambridge Reproduction and the lgbtQ+@Cam programme, the latter of which promotes research, outreach and network-building opportunities related to queer, trans and sexuality studies across and beyond the institution. He is also the Project Co-Lead of the Queer Conceptions research network.


During this CRASSH Fellowship, Geoffrey will work on a new research project entitled, ‘Un/Natural: Marine Sexualities and the Queer Ecological’. This collaborative project addresses the recent upsurge of the queer-animal story in cultural, media and theoretical texts, in which the natural world – including gay frogs, trans starfish and lesbian penguins – has been used to justify or condemn what should be considered ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ within human sexuality and gender. The project initially examines how applicable these anthropocentric terms of gender, sexuality and queerness are to the animals and organisms of the natural world, posing a series of interrelated questions: How applicable are the anthropocentric terms of gender, sexuality and queerness to the animals and organisms of the natural world? What does it mean to speak of transsexualism or hermaphrodism in sea creatures, when our very ideas of sex and sexuality are based on human models of anatomy and sociality? What can these epistemological tensions tell us about the nature/culture divide, and about the ways that ‘nature’ has been mobilised in recent years both culturally and politically?

The project responds to these questions by attending to a political and theoretical hesitation in critical terminology, one that dwells in many of these discussions within the cautious italicisation and scare-quoting of the terms ‘non-normative’, ‘unnatural’, de-naturalise and queer. It looks to a range of contemporary cultural texts, including literature, film, poetry and performance art, which involve a number of ocean-dwelling creatures: from the bizarre sexualities of bacteria and plankton to the tentacular plasticity of homosexual octopuses and jellyfish. In doing so, the project draws the environmental humanities and posthumanist thought – which, at points, idealise sexual multiplicity as a synonym for queerness – into dialogue with queer and trans theories, contributing to the emerging field of queer ecologies. Importantly, the project is not simply about mapping out alternative forms of gender and sexuality that are present in non-human life, as potentially liberatory and politically tempting as that may be. Instead, it questions in a more profound manner the social and scientific assumptions that attend contemporary approaches to non-human and human sexuality and gender, as well as their historical, political and cultural development.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
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