Date of Award

Fall 2021

Publication Type


Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing


Novel, Fiction, Creative writing


C. Davison


C. Hundleby



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Anomia is a novel shaped by absence. Its fictional world is mimetic—it resembles our everyday world—but it exists without any reference whatsoever to either sex or gender. Gone are sexed and gendered pronouns, nouns, and adjectives. All of the characters in the novel are presented without a defined sex or gender identity, and the spaces they occupy are unsegregated by sex or gender classifications. Though there are some examples of constraint-based approaches to sex and gender in mimetic fiction, the completeness of the exclusion of sex and gender categories as demonstrated in Anomia is unprecedented. The novel is also shaped by absence in the sense that the events of the novel centre on the enigmatic fate of two people, known as The Lovers, who have gone missing. The narrative fixation on a material absence draws deliberate attention to the other notable, but unarticulated, linguistic absence of sex and gender signifiers. Furthermore, the fact that The Lovers have gone missing under violent domestic circumstances is an effort to nudge the reader toward a consideration of whether and how to read these incidents through the lenses of sex or gender-based analyses. The intent of Anomia is to create an imaginary space wherein the reader must confront their own presumptions about sex and gender, and ultimately consider whether human identities and interactions can be legible without frameworks of sex and gender.

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