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Meet Cole Polglaze

Posted by on Friday, March 18, 2022 in Uncategorized.

Cole PolglazeCole Polglaze

I have always been fascinated by the theories of Gender and Sexuality Studies, especially when it comes to my passion for and research of early modern literature. As an undergraduate, I examined how the bonds between the female characters in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale provide these women with power and autonomy in a plot that is built on a moment of misogyny. Most recently, I wrote my master’s thesis here at Vanderbilt on asexuality in John Milton’s truly bizarre masque Comus. The title character tries to convince a young woman to participate in sexual acts from which he gains power, so her disinterest in the activities he champions disempowers him and shifts the power structure of the masque, away from an allosexual outcome to an asexual one. Looking ahead to my dissertation, I am interested in exploring automatons, nonhuman characters who often pass as human. How do early moderns depict these genderless bodies in a society whose hierarchies rely so heavily on gender? What does it mean for these nonhuman bodies, especially those bodies which are gendered female, to reside in a world so focused on reproduction and continuing family lines?