Keenan Burton

Graduate Student, French

Keenan is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in French language and literature at Washington University in Saint Louis. In 2016, he earned a BA in French and Francophone Studies from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Keenan’s research focuses on 18th and 19th century French literary, musical, and performance culture. Particular interests include queer, gender, and sexuality studies, opera and performance studies, depictions of music in literature, and travesti and trouser roles in opera and theater. In his dissertation, titled “The Queer Imaginary in French Literature and Opera: Undressing Gender, Sexuality, and Difference,” he examines creative gender play and subversive sexualities as carried out by women and individuals assigned female at birth who don masculine attire to explicitly alter their gender expression. Bringing together French literary studies, queer theory, performance studies, and musicology, Keenan’s interdisciplinary project investigates operatic drag performance, criminalized gender expressions, and stagings of subversive sexualities, aiming not only to make visible alternatives to cisheteronormatively informed understandings of dominant culture, but also to examine the extent to which subversive gender and sexual practices of the past might also inform modern notions of queerness.   

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • CB 1077
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
    View All People