What are you looking for?

Zigarovich, Jolene

Zigarovich, Jolene

Individual Fellow

Necropolitics: Legislating the Dead Body and the Victorian Novel

Research Question

Why do dead bodies command forms of regulation? Why are certain nineteenth-century legal structures spectral and uncanny? How are economies of death unique to narrative?

Project Description

This project considers the posthumous life of characters uncannily bound by regulation. It interrogates the economic and political instrumentalization of death, and legal features that historically aimed to promote yet in many ways also inhibit reliability. I argue that while the Victorian novel upholds legal authority, it simultaneously critiques it, affording a strategy for advocacy against normative regulations through the symbol of the untraceable or dead. Drawing on the theory of power and death termed “necropolitics,” I investigate how contemporary legal issues are transformed into haunting aspects of Victorian narrative jurisprudence.

Selected Publications

Zigarovich, Jolene. “Gothic and the History of Sexuality.” The Cambridge History of the Gothic: Vol. 1. Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century. Eds. Dale Townshend and Angela Wright. Cambridge University Press, 2020. 382-405.

Zigarovich, Jolene. “The Problem of Female Birthright in Chancery and the Eighteenth-Century Novel.” Law & Literature. 31:3 (2019): 487-508.

Zigarovich, Jolene (Editor). TransGothic in Literature and Culture. Series: Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature. Routledge, 2017.