Living, writing and staging racial hybridity

Posted in Arts, Canada, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2010-02-14 18:36Z by Steven

Living, writing and staging racial hybridity

University of British Columbia
January 2006
380 pages
37 photographs/illustrations

Lisa Michelle La Flamme

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Contemporary Canadian literature and drama that features racial hybridity represents the racially hybrid soma text as a unique form of embodiment and pays particular attention to the power of the racialized gaze. The soma text is the central concept I have developed in order to identify, address, and interrogate the signifying qualities of the racially hybrid body. Throughout my dissertation, I use the concept of the body as a text in order to draw attention to the different visual “readings” that are stimulated by this form of embodiment. In each chapter, I identify the centrality of racially hybrid embodiment and investigate the power of the racialized gaze involved in the interpellation of these racially hybrid bodies.

I have chosen to divide my study into discrete chapters and to use specific texts to illuminate my central concepts and to identify the strategies that can be used to express agency over the process of interpellation. In Chapter One I explain my methodology, define the terminology and outline the theories that are central to my analysis. In Chapter Two, I consider the experiences of mixed race people expressing agency by self-defining in the genre of autobiography. In Chapter Three, I explore the notion of racial drag as represented in fiction. In Chapter Four, I consider the ways in which the performative aspects of racial hybridity are represented by theatrical means and through performance.

My analysis of the soma text and racialized gaze in these three genres offers critical terms that can be used to analyze representations of racial hybridity. By framing my analysis by way of the construction of the autobiographical voice I suggest that insight into the narrative uses of racial hybridity can be deepened and informed by a thorough analysis of the representation of the lived experience of racial hybridity in a given context. My crossgeneric and crossracial methodology implicitly asserts the importance of the inclusion of different types of racial hybridity in order to understand the power of the racially hybrid body as a signifier in contemporary Canadian literature and drama.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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