Emma Dunn is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in the Communication and Culture program at Ryerson University, having previously completed an M.A. in English (2015), a B.Ed. (2014), and a B.A. (Honours) in English Language and Literature (2014) at Brock University. Emma's research interests span the fields of feminist theory, body studies, and youth cultures. Her M.A. project was funded by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's Scholarship, and explored connections between anorexia and post-feminism in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. Supported by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship and supervised by Dr. Irene Gammel, Emma’s doctoral work examines how the logic of anorexia functions through the figure of the post-feminist action heroine in popular speculative fiction franchises for young adults. Emma has her office at the MLC, where she is also involved as a research assistant and peer-mentor, engaged in a culture of research and publishing.
Doctoral Research Statement
Dunn, Emma. “Starving For Justice: Teen Action Heroines and the Logic of Anorexia.” Communication and Culture PhD Programme. Yeates School of Graduate Studies. Ryerson University, 2015. Read the statement.
Dunn, Emma. “Rape and Reconciliation: A Comparison of Karen Jayes’ For the Mercy of Water and Emma Ruby-Sachs’ The Water Man’s Daughter.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, vol. 17, no. 1, 2016, pp. 88-101.
Peer-Reviewed Conference Papers
Dunn, Emma. “‘What if I’m just parts?’: Anorexic Bodies and Undead Subjectivity in Mattel’s Monster High: Freaky Fusion.” Talking Bodies 2017, 19 April 2017, Institute of Gender Studies, University of Chester, UK. Conference Paper.
Dunn, Emma. “Voracious Vampires: Anorexic Logic in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series.”Association of Canadian College and University Teachers in English, 30 May 2016, University of Calgary, CAN. Conference Paper.
Dunn, Emma. “(Un)natural Citizens: The Metaphor of ‘Anorexic as Alien’ in Canadian Television.” International Girls Studies Association, 8 April 2016, University of East Anglia, UK. Conference Paper.
“Starving For Justice: Teen Action Heroines and the Logic of Anorexia”
This project builds on feminist cultural studies of eating disorders and Leslie Heywood’s notion of “anorexic logic” to examine how the logic of anorexia resonates through the increasingly popular figure of the post-feminist action heroine, specifically within speculative fiction franchises for young adults. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, and their subsequent film and fan fiction adaptations serve as the primary case studies for my investigation. All three of these series feature a female protagonist with post-feminist attributes, and emerged as top-selling YA speculative fiction franchises in the post-Harry Potter era, giving rise to enormous fandoms that spawned thousands of fan fiction narratives in turn. If anorexia is a “crystallization of culture” as Susan Bordo suggests, then these series, as record-breaking cultural phenomena and female-lead multimedia franchises, are vital objects of study in this field. Although scholars like Jeffery Brown have begun to analyze the discourses surrounding powerful female protagonists in post-feminist contexts, the correlation between anorexia and these complex female figures has yet to be fully explored.