Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Misty G. Anderson

Committee Members

Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, Hilary Havens, Gina Di Salvo


Over the course of the Restoration and eighteenth century, significant changes took place in the ways sex and gender were conceived – changes that touched every aspect of English culture during the period. Following the introduction of the actress into London’s public theaters, plays that experimented with gender-sexuality exploded in popularity, with many of these plays involving theatrical cross-dressing. The majority of this cross-dressing was done by actresses, and they would either disguise themselves as men as part of a play’s plot or perform roles written for men. “Breeches: Theatrical Cross-Dressing and Queer Embodiment, 1675-1745” takes a queer and trans approach to understanding the production of gender on the Restoration and early eighteenth-century stage through an examination of these cross-dressed performances. Considering the embodiment of gender-sexuality on stage as carefully constructed “gender collages” which combine elements of the play text, costume, props, gesture, and more, cross-dressing serves as an entry point to understanding all theatrical gender- sexuality as potentially queer performance.

Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2028

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