EVENT Mar 23
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Be Queer - Do Crime: A Killing Eve Roundtable Discussion (NeMLA 2023: Resilience)

Niagara Falls, NY
Organization: NeMLA
Event: NeMLA 2023: Resilience
Categories: Gender & Sexuality, Women's Studies
Event Date: 2023-03-23 to 2023-03-26 Abstract Due: 2022-09-30
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On April 10, 2022, the final episode of the acclaimed British spy thriller series Killing Eve
sparked collective outrage among its community of viewers, many of whom had closely
identified with Villanelle, the show’s boldly queer female lead. In an April 11th article for Them,
Sara Clements describes a sense of betrayal widely shared among the show’s LGBTQ+ fan
base: “What was the point ... if the writers were going to essentially tell us that queer women
are either disposable or doomed to solitude? How many more shows are going to tell us that?”
Furthermore, Clements argues that along with reverting to the “bury your gays” trope, “Killing
Eve took ten steps backward with seemingly no regard for its lasting cultural impact.” Our
roundtable discussion, “Be Queer – Do Crime” extends and challenges the questions raised in
Clements’ article. What “lasting cultural impact” did Killing Eve seem to promise and then to
betray, and to whom? In addition to the show’s genre and gender-bending portrayals of the
femme, sexually fluid assassin (Villanelle is one of several in the show), what other subversions
(cultural, political, historical/material) does the show provoke? In what other ways might we
read, or revision, the ending? We invite participants from the fields of queer- and feminist media
studies, global gender and sexuality, literature and critical theory, to submit a brief abstract that
summarizes your response either to 1) the controversial ending or 2) Killing Eve’s “lasting
cultural impact.” Format: the panel will begin with opening remarks from participants (5-10 min)
followed by roundtable discussion.



Cheryl A Emerson