Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Research Student: Alexandra Athelstan-Price

Queer Power Femininities: Theorising Queer / Feminist Modes of Feminine Embodiment and Subjectivity

Photo of Alexandra Athelstan-Price

I am a University of Leeds Research Scholarship funded PhD student at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (CIGS) and the School of Sociology and Social Policy, supervised by Dr. Shirley Anne Tate and Professor Ian Law from the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS).

My research theorises queer, alternative and subversive modes of feminine embodiment and subjectivity in everyday life. Using a theoretical framework of Bourdieu’s (1984) concept of the habitus, Butler’s (1999) theory of gender performativity and Ahmed’s (2006) queer phenomenology concerning processes of orientation, the project investigates how subjects who self identify their femininity as being queer, alternative or subversive, manifest their gender identity according to the affects, objects, people, spaces, aesthetics and positioned intersections of identity, that they orientate themselves towards and away from. The project uses a mixed methodological approach involving a discursive analysis of three major queer feminine texts, Ulrika Dahl and Del La Grace Volcano’s Femmes of Power (2008), Chloe Brushwood Rose and Anna Camilleri’s Brazen Femme (2002) and Jennifer Clare Burke’s Femmethology (2009), as well as interviews and visual materials in the forms of collages and photographs produced by 15 self identified queer feminine subjects in the UK.

Alongside my PhD, I edit the Graduate Journal of Social Science (GJSS) in collaboration with Rosemary Deller, Manchester University. Please visit our website www.gjss.orgor email us editors@gjss.org to find out more about our latest editions and calls for papers.

Research Interests

  • Gender, Feminist and Queer Theory
  • Critical Approaches to the Body
  • Intersectionality, Power and Identity
  • Queer, Alternative and Subversive Femininities
  • Discourses and Daily Practices of Age(ism)
  • Critical ‘Race,’ Ethnicity and Whiteness Studies
  • Visual Methodologies
  • Alternative Pedagogy
  • Affect Theory

Academic History

  • MA Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2009.
  • BA English Literature with Gender, University of Wales, Swansea, 2008.


  • Awarded £1000 grant from ARTS and ESSL on behalf of the Organising Committee for the Thriving on the Edge of Cuts conference.
  • University of Leeds Scholarship for PhD in Gender Studies 2010 – 2013
  • Central European University Tuition Fee Waiver for MA in Gender Studies 2008 – 2009
  • E. Arthur Williams Prize for Best Academic Performance in the Subject of English Literature, June 2006


  • Alexa Athelstan and Rosemary Deller (eds.) Visual Methodologies, GJSS, vol. 10, issue. 2 (forthcoming March 2013).
  • Alexa Athelstan and Rosemary Deller (eds.) Theorising Futurities, GJSS, vol. 9 issue. 2, July 2012.
  • Alexa Athelstan, Mercedes Pöll, Angelica Pesarini, Liz Mills & Cassandra McLuckie (eds.) Thriving on the Edge of Cuts: Inspirations and Innovations in Gender Studies GJSS, vol. 8, issue 2, October 2012.

In our role as editors for the GJSS, myself and my colleague Rosemary Deller have also actively supported the publication of several special editions, organised and executed by various guest editors to the GJSS, on the following topics:

  • Virtual Methodologies
  • Critical Whiteness
  • Gendered Subjects
  • Sexualities in Focus
  • Conditions in Praxis: Theory and Praxis in Activism and Academia
  • Affect Theory

Teaching Experience

  • University of Leeds Teaching Award (ULTA) Level 1: Successfully Completed in 2011/2012.
  • Taught Sociology of Gender, Leeds University, Semester 1, Autumn 2011.
  • PhD Tutor at NOISE Summer School: The Miraculous (Dis-)Appearing Act of Sexuality: Mapping the Study of Sexuality in Europe 1960-2010, Utrecht University, Netherlands, August 2011.
  • Montessori English Teacher at Eszterlánc Hungarian-English Montessori Kindergarten, Budapest, Hungary, March 2010 – August 2010.
  • British Council English Language Teaching Assistant and English Literature Teacher, Frankfurt, Germany, September 2006 – March 2007.

Conference Papers

  • ‘“You can be all kinds of trouble whilst wearing a tutu!” Dressing Up and Acting Up: The (Micro)Politics of Queer, Alternative and Subversive Femininities,’ Forthcoming Feminisms Conference, Leeds University, October 2012.
  • ‘Visualising Queer, Alternative and Subversive Femininities: Representing and Exploring Queer Feminine Identities and Modes of Orientation through Participant Produced Collages & Photographs,’ Gender and Visual Representation Conference, University of Winchester, September 2012.
  • ‘Orientating Queer Feminine Identities: Theorising the Impact of Positioned Intersections of Identity on the Performance of Queer Alternative and Subversive Feminine Subjectivities’ 8th European Feminist Research Conference, CEU Budapest, May 2012.
  • ‘Theorising Queer Femininities,’ School of Sociology and Social Policy Annual Postgraduate Conference, Leeds University, June 2011.
  • ‘The Absorbed Mind: Exploring Possibilities for a Montessori Approach to Feminist Pedagogic Practices and Ethics within Higher Education,’ conference paper to be delivered at the Feminism and Teaching Symposium, Nottingham University, April 2011.
  • ‘In the Spotlight: Queer Femininities and the Carnivalesque Embodiment of Feminist Cultural Activism,’ conference paper to be delivered at the Carnival of Feminist Cultural Activism, York University, March 2011.
  • ‘Queer Power Femininities: Theorising Queer / Feminist Modes of Feminine Embodiment & Subjectivity,’ Interdisciplinary Perspectives: Mothers Daughters and the Feminine / Feminist Conference, Oxford University, September 2010.
  • ‘Under the Cover of Darkness: Queer Time & the Queer Utopian Spaces of 1940’s Wartime Britain in Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch,’ Utopian Spaces of British Literature and Culture from 1890 – 1945 Conference, Oxford University, September 2009.
  • ‘The Queer Whispers of the Body in Sarah Waters’ Tipping the Velvet & Affinity,’ PG CWWN Writing Bodies / Reading Bodies in Contemporary Women’s Writing Conference, Oxford University, September 2009.

Additional Academic Roles

  • Student Reviewer for the Graduate Journal of Social Science (GJSS): November 2010 – October 2011.
  • Organising Committee Member for the Thriving on the Edge of Cuts: Inspirations and Innovations in Gender Studies Conference, Leeds University, June 2011.
  • Organising Committee Member for the ESSL Postgraduate Research Conference, Leeds University, May 2011.

Masterclasses Attended

  • Feminist Critical Analysis: (Re)Mapping the Everyday through Visual Culture, Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 2010.
  • Deleuze and Nomadic Methodology: An Intensive Introduction, OSL Masterclass with Professor Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, Netherlands, March 2010.

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