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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis investigates Nuestra Aparente Rendición, or "Our Apparent Surrender," a literary project launched in response to narco-violence in Mexico. I consider the potential of literature to intervene on violence by elaborating a theory of fiction as a strategy of naturalization. Fiction dissembles artifice and contingency, imposing sense-making frames on the imagination. The role of fiction in politics is to work the very limits of intelligibility. It has long been held that language requires external moorings to anchor discourse to a stable place. This has been conceived, alternatively, as an idealized speech community or an intersubjective commitment to veracity, as objective truths, a privileged experience, external reality or God. In the absence of such moorings, it has been claimed that language would be a sea of unending deferral, and communication would be impossible. A theory of fiction suggests instead that the place where meaning is 'fixed' and stabilized is internal to discourse itself. Fiction works to halt the imagination, limit what is possible, and transform infinite contingency into necessity. Ultimately, I suggest that what is needed is a deepening of the rhetorical turn. It has been argued--and feared--that that the rhetorical turn devolves into relativism and renders scholarship ineffectual. Against such claims, I contend that we have not yet accounted for the effects of necessity, which is caught up with contingency in an inextricable embrace.
Degree ProgramGraduate College