Dr. Gwendolyn Sarah Kirk

In this talk Dr. Kirk examined two films in detail, 1957’s Yakkey Wali and 1979’s Aurat Raj, to ask how vocal drag and translanguaging perform identity crossings in ways that complement or complicate other narrative dimensions of these films. Moreover, she sought to develop a diachronic understanding of these practices through the concepts of citationality and enregisterment to think through how their development both resonated with their contemporary audiences but also may have impacted later films and later audiences. She argued that focusing on gender citational (Butler) or genderizing (Eckert and McConnell-Ginet) linguistic elements such as pitch/prosody, lexicon, morphosyntax, or multimodalities, allows us a more nuanced understanding of gender reversal performances in film. In the Pakistani context specifically, this has ramifications for understanding the ways other identity formations emerge in performance, such as social class, caste, ethnolinguistic identity, and alignment with national or moral hegemonies. It also offers insight into how indices of such identity formations develop and are enregistered over time.

Dr. Kirk is a linguistic anthropologist whose research centers on Punjabi cinema, language ideologies, and popular culture in Pakistan. Her current book project addresses questions of language variety, aesthetics, film production, and performance as well as exploring the theoretical flows and exchanges between linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics and cultural/cinematic/literary studies. She is also involved in initiatives to document and understand language shift and linguistic variation in West Punjab. Some of her other research projects have focused on semantics in performative genres of South Asian literature, on linkages between global politics and South Asian librarianship, and on cinema and television of Pakistan.