Flesh and Bone is an eight part mini-series from 2015 following Claire, a troubled ballet dancer who runs away from her hometown to audition for a New York ballet company. This series is a Gothic exploration of the female body as a source of commodity even now in the 21st century, and the battle Claire has to establish her identity surrounded by those who wish to use her for their own purposes.

Her body becomes the both the site of and inspiration for revenge, and by the end, there is reckonings for those who have abused her, or exploited her for their own gain. This is seen most clearly through the interaction between Claire and the prominent male characters of the series- the flamboyantly homosexual director of the ballet company, Claire’s brother recently returned from military service, the suspicious Russian owner of a nearby stripclub, and the autistic homeless man that lives on Claire’s street.

The series uses Gothic tropes in order to convey Claire’s struggles to establish an identity she is comfortable with, yet subverts some stereotypes regarding physicality – such as hair cutting and use of blood – to reassert power within a feminine narrative. Claire struggles with her identity throughout, yet ultimately it is through her dance ability that she is able to come to terms with the myriad of demands from external sources.

About the speaker

Kate Harvey has studied literature at Stirling University, where they completed their Undergraduate in English Literature and Masters degree in The Gothic Imagination, with a dissertation looking at the female body in relation to the werewolf in contemporary literature.

Kate has had the privilege to have been selected to present papers at MMU’s Gothic Styles conference, and at Trinity College, Dublin at their Gothic Nature conference, both in 2017. In 2018 Kate also presented at Sheffield University at their annual Reimagining the Gothic conference, the Supernatural Cities conference held at the University of Hertfordshire and the IGA in Manchester celebrating the bi-centennial of Frankenstein.

Kate’s research interests include: the female monstrous body in Ecogothic works, and the Gothic in dance and performance.

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