Locating Identities: Narratives of Place in Multiethnic, Immigrant and Diasporic Literature
AuthorModarres, Andrea M.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is a comparative study of ways in which women writers from Latina, Middle-Eastern and Native American backgrounds narrate their identities as a function of the different locations they inhabit, and the manner in which these places inform their subject positions and their everyday lives. Some of the key questions explored concern how these writers deploy spatial stories as a tactic to construct textual spaces within which their identities may be expressed, especially since they are often faced, as immigrants or members of diasporic or ethnic populations, with negotiating the contradictory expectations of multiple locations and cultures; it asks what is at stake in constructing particular narrative spaces of identity within categories such as immigrant, exile, migrant, or hyphenated American. The dissertation argues that because people revise their stories throughout their lives, narration can be considered a spatial tactic as well. The act of telling and retelling creates a place within which the narrator constructs an identity; therefore, the narration itself becomes a metaphorical, mobile meta-place that allows people to construct and reconstruct multiple selves subject to constant flux. These narrative meta-places can serve as framing devices for the different selves people are creating at any given time.Each chapter analyzes specific terms and their various related discourses in conjunction with concrete and metaphorical places and spaces used in representing identity in particular ways. Chapter One considers spaces of expression, in which an individual's use of more than one kind of language or discourse confers upon her the ability to narrate her subjectivity and claim her right to self-representation instead of accepting subject positions historically created by others. Chapter Two examines gendered spaces such as the harem, a construction both real and imaginary; it extends the harem as a trope that helps us understand gendered spaces as a vehicle through which women can exercise agency and articulate their multiple subjectivities. Chapter Three focuses on the deployment of labels such as immigrant, exile, or diasporic to construct a specific identity and examines recursive patterns of movement that seem an important process in articulating fluid identities across borders.
Degree ProgramGraduate College