Matching Items (10)

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The female patient: American women writers narrating medicine and psychology, 1890-1930

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The Female Patient: American Women Writers Narrating Medicine and Psychology 1890-1930 considers how American women writers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Stein,

The Female Patient: American Women Writers Narrating Medicine and Psychology 1890-1930 considers how American women writers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zelda Fitzgerald, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and Gertrude Stein, use the novel form to examine medical culture during and after the turn of the 20th century. These authors insert the viewpoint of the woman patient, I argue, to expose problematics of gendered medical relationships and women’s roles in medicine, as well as the complexities of the pre-Freudian medical environment. Issues such as categorizing and portrayal of mental illness, control and perception of the patient through treatment, women's alternative medical practices, addiction, and the immigrant and minority patient are all examined. In doing so, the goal of revising medicine's dominant narratives and literature's role in that objective may be achieved. Authors using the subjectivity of the patient help to refigure perspectives of women's medical and social encounters. Utilizing historical record and sociocultural theorizing, this dissertation presents the five women authors as essential in creating new narratives of modernity and ways of understanding medical experience during this time.

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  • 2016

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Intersecting transnational English modernisms in interwar France

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This dissertation is a study of place and the ways that place plays a role in the stories we tell about ourselves and the ways we interact with the world.

This dissertation is a study of place and the ways that place plays a role in the stories we tell about ourselves and the ways we interact with the world. It is also the study of a moment in time and how a moment can impact what came before and all that follows. By taking on the subject of 1920s anglophone modernism in France I explore the way this particular time and place drew upon the past and impacted the future of literary culture. Post World War I France serves as a fluid social, political, and cultural space and the moment is one of plural modernisms. I argue that the interwar period was a transnational moment that laid the groundwork for the kind of global interactions that are both positively and negatively impacting the world today. I maintain that the critical work connected to the influence of 1920s France on Modernism deserves a more interstitial analysis than we have seen, one that expressly challenges the national frameworks that lead to a monolithic focus on the specific identity politics attached to race, gender, class and sexuality. I promote instead a consideration of the articulations between all of these factors by expanding, connecting and providing contingencies for the difference within the unity and the similarities that exist beyond it. I consider the way that the idea, history, social culture and geography of France work as sources of literary innovation and as spaces of literary fantasy for three diverse anglophone modernist writers: Jean Rhys, Claude McKay and William Faulkner. Their interaction with the place and the people make for a complex web of articulated difference that is the very core of transnational modernism. By considering their use of place in modernist fiction, I question the centrality of Paris as a modernist topos that too often replaces any broader understanding of France as a diverse cultural and topographical space, and I question the nation-centric logic of modernist criticism that fails to recognize the complex ways that language in general and the English language in particular function in this particular expatriate modernist moment.

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  • 2016

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Women rewriting scripts of war: contemporary U.S. novels, memoir, and media from 1991-2013

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ABSTRACT

This dissertation examines contemporary U.S. women writing about war, with primarily women subjects and protagonists, from 1991-2013, in fiction, memoir, and media. The writers situate women at the center

ABSTRACT

This dissertation examines contemporary U.S. women writing about war, with primarily women subjects and protagonists, from 1991-2013, in fiction, memoir, and media. The writers situate women at the center of war texts and privilege their voices as authoritative speakers in war, whether as civilians and soldiers trying to survive or indigenous women preparing for the possibility of war. I argue that these authors are rewriting scripts of war to reflect gendered experiences and opening new ways of thinking about war. Women Rewriting Scripts of War argues that Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead juxtaposes an indigenous Story concept against a white industrialized national “Truth,” and indigenous women characters will resort to war if needed to oppose it. Silko’s and the other texts here challenge readers to unseat assumptions about the sovereignty of the U.S. and other countries, about the fixedness of gender, of capitalism, and of how humans relate to each other‒and how we should. I argue in Essay 3 that the script of “the body” or “the soldier” in military service can be expanded by moving toward language and concepts from feminist and queer theory and spectrums of gender and sexuality. This can contribute to positive change for all military members. In each of the texts, there are some similarities in connections with others. Connections enable solidarity for change, possibilities for healing, and survival; indeed, without connections with others to work together, survival is not possible. Changes to established economic structures become necessary for women in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Poisonwood Bible; I argue that women engaging in alternative modes of economy subvert the dominant economic constraints, gender hierarchies, and social isolation during and after war in the Congo. In Essay 5, I explore two fictional texts about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Helen Benedict's novel Sand Queen and Katey Schultz’s short story collection Flashes of War. The connections in these women’s texts about war are not idealized, and they function as the antithesis to the fragmentation and isolation of postmodern texts.

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  • 2015

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Narrative exploits: space and trauma in contemporary American literature

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This dissertation analyzes contemporary American literature, which includes novels, graphic novels, film, and television of the last forty years, to deconstruct the critical relationship between lived space, institutional power, and

This dissertation analyzes contemporary American literature, which includes novels, graphic novels, film, and television of the last forty years, to deconstruct the critical relationship between lived space, institutional power, and trauma. It examines literary representations of traumatic moments in recent American history--the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the emergence of the Homeland Security state, and the introduction of the "new metropolis"--to demonstrate that collective trauma at the turn of the century is very much a product of the individual's complex relationship to the state and its institutional auxiliaries. As many philosophers and social critics have argued, institutional forces in contemporary America often deprive individuals of active political engagement through processes of narrative production, and this study discusses how literature both represents and simulates the traumatic consequences of this encounter. Looking to theories on urban, domestic, and textual space, this dissertation explores and problematizes the political and psychological dimensions of space, demonstrating how trauma is enacted through space and how individuals may utilize space and exploit narrative to achieve critical distance from institutional power. Literature as a narrative medium presents vital opportunities both for exposing the machinery of institutional power and for generating positions against the narratives produced by the state.

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  • 2013

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Shifting Indian identities in Aravind Adiga's work: the march from individual to communal power

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In contemporary Indian literature, the question over which sets of Indian identities are granted access to power is highly contested. Critics such as Kathleen Waller and Sara Schotland align power

In contemporary Indian literature, the question over which sets of Indian identities are granted access to power is highly contested. Critics such as Kathleen Waller and Sara Schotland align power with the identity of the autonomous individual, whose rights and freedoms are supposedly protected by the state, while others like David Ludden and Sandria Freitag place power with those who become a part of group identities, either on the national or communal level. The work of contemporary Indian author Aravind Adiga attempts to address this question. While Adiga's first novel The White Tiger applies the themes and ideology of the worth of the individual from African American novelists Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin, Adiga's latest novel, Last Man in Tower, shifts towards a study of the consequences of colonialism, national identity, and the place of the individual within India in order to reveal a changing landscape of power and identity. Through a discussion of Adiga's collective writings, postcolonial theory, American literature, South Asian crime novels, contemporary Indian popular fiction, and some of the challenges facing Mumbai, I track Adiga's shifts and moments of growth between his two novels and evaluate Adiga's ultimate message about who holds power in Indian society: the individual or the community.

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  • 2013

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Genre reassignment: crime, morality, and Elmore Leonard's place in law and literature

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For over a century, writings in the Law & Literature genre have been largely restricted to works concerning lawyers and courtrooms. This despite early preeminent Law& Literature scholars' assertions that

For over a century, writings in the Law & Literature genre have been largely restricted to works concerning lawyers and courtrooms. This despite early preeminent Law& Literature scholars' assertions that the genre should incorporate any writing that examines the intersection of law, crime, morality, and society. For over a half-century, Detroit novelist Elmore Leonard has been producing well-written, introspective novels about criminals, violence, and society's need to both understand and condemn these things, all under the broad, oft-marginalized genre of crime and detective fiction. This paper pairs the work of Elmore Leonard, using his successful novel Out of Sight as a stylistic framework, with the Law & Literature genre. After a dissection of the true definition of a Law & Literature and detective fiction, as well as an excavation of underlying themes and imports of Out of Sight, it is found that Law & Literature scholars need to be more inclusive of crime novels like Leonard's. And, given the characteristics of both genres, Leonard's novels are more appropriately classified as Law & Literature rather than detective fiction.

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  • 2012

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Embodied Persistence: Corporeal Ruptures in Modernist Discourses of Material Language and Cultural Reproductive Futurity

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This dissertation is an examination of a modernist desire to construct future materiality via material language, which represents a desire to overcome biology and the biological body. As such, modernist

This dissertation is an examination of a modernist desire to construct future materiality via material language, which represents a desire to overcome biology and the biological body. As such, modernist discourses of material language must be understood within their broader historical context, as these textual constructs developed against a cultural backdrop replete with eugenicist ideologies. Modernists wielded discourses of material language to determine via cultural reproduction which futures might materialize, as well as which bodies could occupy those futures and in what capacities. This dissertation argues that these modernist constructs contain their own failure in their antibiologism and their refusal to acknowledge the agency of corporeal materiality before them. Unlike language, the body expresses biopower through its material (re)productivity—its corpo-reality—which, though it can be shaped and repressed by discourse, persistently ruptures through the restraints of eugenicist ideologies and the autonomous liberal model of white masculine embodiment they uphold. This work analyses sexually marginalized bodies in texts by Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Nathanael West, and Ernest Hemingway that, through their insistently persistent biological materiality, disrupt modernist discourses of material language that offer no future for feminine, queer, and disabled corporeality. By exploring how intersecting issues of gender, sexuality, and disability complicate theories of language’s materiality in modern American literature, this dissertation brings attention to writers and texts that challenge broader attempts in the early decades of the twentieth century to subvert the biological body through eugenicist projects of cultural reproduction.

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  • 2019

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Environmental justice witnessing in the modernist poetry of Lola Ridge, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Elizabeth Bishop

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Environmental Justice Witnessing in the Modernist Poetry of Lola Ridge, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Elizabeth Bishop analyzes the poetic forms used by four modernist American women poets to trace

Environmental Justice Witnessing in the Modernist Poetry of Lola Ridge, Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Elizabeth Bishop analyzes the poetic forms used by four modernist American women poets to trace depictions of social oppression that are tied to specific landscapes. My focus is on what I term "environmental justice witnessing," which I define as accounts that testify to experiences of injustices that affect humans and the environments they inhabit. Integrating theories of witnessing, which to date have focused exclusively on humans, with environmental justice criticism, I fashion a lens that highlights the interconnectedness of social and environmental problems. In this way, I theorize the study of texts of witness and how they document the decay, disease, and exploitation of urban and rural landscapes in the twentieth century. In this dissertation, I focus on Lola Ridge's "The Ghetto" (1918), Muriel Rukeyser's "The Book of the Dead" (1938), Gwendolyn Brooks' "In the Mecca" (1968), and poems about Brazil from Elizabeth Bishop's Questions of Travel (1965) and New Poems (1979). I argue that these women poets depict environmental injustices as an inherent facet of social injustice and do so by poetically connecting human bodies to environmental bodies through sound, diction, figurative language, and imagery.

In Environmental Justice Witnessing, I expand arguments made by environmental scholars about the exchange of environmental elements among humans, animals, and landscapes to include the way poets reflect this transfer poetically. The poetry of Ridge, Rukeyser, Brooks, and Bishop allows me to investigate the ways the categories of race, gender, and class, typically thought of as human qualities, are integrally tied to the geographic, national, and cultural bounds in which those categories are formulated. This argument has clear implications on the study of poetry and its environmental contexts as it invites discussions of the transnational conceptions of global citizenship, examinations of the relationships among communities, the environment, and overarching power structures, and arguments surrounding the ways that poetry as art can bring about long-term social and environmental awareness.

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  • 2015

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Queering home: domestic space and sexuality in postmodern American literature

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Jason Bryant Queering Home: Domestic Space and Sexuality in Postmodern American Fiction This dissertation explores narratives of homosexuals and trans men and women occupying domestic spaces, discerning the ways that

Jason Bryant Queering Home: Domestic Space and Sexuality in Postmodern American Fiction This dissertation explores narratives of homosexuals and trans men and women occupying domestic spaces, discerning the ways that “home” shapes understandings about sexuality and examining the ways that understandings of sexuality shape how domestic spaces are occupied. Queer artists and intellectuals have deconstructed the legacy of normativity that clings to the metaphor of the domestic realm. Queering Home argues that writers have used the discursive concept of home to cultivate sociopolitical communities (Audre Lorde, Zami) while also insisting upon material spaces of shelter and comfort for individuals queered by gender performance, sexual orientation, and resultant adverse economic conditions (Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues). Two novels, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina and Mike Albo's Hornito, challenge the coming-of-age tradition of narrating childhood/adolescence through the redeeming prism of the confident, queer adult; in particular, these novels trouble the problematic notion of domesticated maturation as a heteronormative condition that continues to cling to much contemporary American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) politics. The third chapter examines Marilyn Hacker's sonnet collection, Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons in correspondence with Carl Phillips's collection, Cortège, as they queer the concept of domestic bliss, the goal toward which romantic partners are “supposed” to be committed. Hacker and Phillips revise the same-sex couple as a processing of gay ways of life, which resists positing normative, married futures for lesbians and homosexuals. Finally, the study investigates Terrence McNally's play, Lips Together, Teeth Apart and a series of still life paintings by Joey Terrill for their depiction of narratives of domestic spaces (pools, open-concept design, medicine cabinets), which condition the subjectification and desubjectification of gay male sexuality and domesticity in the era of HIV/AIDS. Throughout, this dissertation draws energy by challenging the “given” and “inevitable” heteronorms that condition domesticity, sexuality, and space, demonstrating how late twentieth century writers and artists have queered the home.

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  • 2013

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From indeterminacy to acknowledgment: topoi of lesbianism in transatlantic fiction by women, 1925 to 1936

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This project will attempt to supplement the current registry of lesbian inquiry in literature by exploring a very specific topos important to the Modern era: woman and her intellect. Under

This project will attempt to supplement the current registry of lesbian inquiry in literature by exploring a very specific topos important to the Modern era: woman and her intellect. Under this umbrella, the project will perform two tasks: First, it will argue that the Modern turn that accentuates what I call negative valence mimesis is a moment of change that enables the general public to perceive lesbianism in representations of women that before, perhaps, remained unacknowledged. And, second, that the intersection of thought and resistance to heteronormative structures, such as heterosexual desire/sex, childbirth, marriage, religion, feminine performance, generate topoi of lesbianism that lesbian studies should continuously critique in order to index the myriad and creative ways through which fictional representations of women have evaded their proper roles in society. The two tasks above will be performed amidst the backdrop of a crucial moment in history in which lesbianism jumped from fiction to fact through the publication and obscenity trial of Radclyffe Hall's novel, The Well of Loneliness. Deconstructive feminist and queer inquiry of under-researched novels by women from the UK and the US written within the decade surrounding the trial reveals the possibilities of lesbianism in novels where the protagonists' investment in heteronormativity has remained unquestioned. In those texts where the protagonists have been questioned, the analysis of lesbianism will be delved into more deeply in order to illustrate new ways of reading these texts. I will focus on women writers who, as Terry Castle suggests, "both usurped and deepened the [lesbian] genre" with the arrival of the new century (Literature 29). It is my attempt to combat heteronormativity through a more positive approach. As Michael Warner asserts, "heteronormativity can be overcome only by actively imagining a necessarily and desirably queer world" (xvi). This is not to say this study will be all roses and no thorns; a desirably queer world is not about a wish for an utopia. For this project, it is about rigorously engaging in the lesbianism of literature while acknowledging how a lesbian reading, a reading for lesbianism, can continue to both expand and enrich the critical tradition of a text and the customary interpretation of various characters.

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  • 2012