IRISH-GA 1085: Black Irish Writing

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2012-06-05 21:09Z by Steven

IRISH-GA 1085: Black Irish Writing

Gluckman Ireland House
New York University
Spring 2010

This course examines the textual force-fields of similarity and difference in the writing of racial and ethnic identities in the Atlantic World.  It begins by considering works of Irish writers who engaged with Atlantic slavery and the sympathetic and testamentary discourses within abolitionism in the late 18th century; authors discussed include Hugh Mulligan, Mary Ledbetter, Edmund Burke, Thomas Brannigan, and Denis Driscoll.  The course then examines the over-lapping traces of radical and revolutionary memory in American slavery and in Irish politics, concentrating on the roles of Irish figures in the writings of Frederick Douglass and Black figures in the writings and speeches of Daniel O’Connell.  The mid-19th century explosion of writing about race and ethnicity following the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin will be explored in relation to the many imitations of Stowe’s novel that sought to explain post-famine Ireland.  The course then considers the proliferation of texts that sought to understand the antinomies of desire and prohibition surrounding persons of mixed race, reading works by Mayne Reid, Dion Boucicault, and Charles Chesnutt. Texts that convey the fusion of African-American and Irish cultural forms will be discussed, including Blackface, Minstrelsy, and Dance.  After consideration of the use of race in the development of anti-Irish caricature (via readings of English (Punch) and American (Thomas Nast and the Nativists) cartoonists), the course will conclude by looking at shared and divergent textual and political strategies in writers of the Irish and Harlem Renaissances, concentrating on the ambivalence of dialect writing (Finley Peter Dunne, John Synge, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Claude McKay), and the limits of modernist primitivism (Eugene O’Neill’sThe Emperor Jones”).  The course will conclude with a discussion of the politics of memory along and across the color line in contemporary Irish and American public life.  Primary readings will be supplemented by theoretical and critical texts, including works by Paul Gilroy, Ian Baucom, Eric Lott, Robert Young, Perry Curtis, Marx, Freud, and Foucault.

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In the Middle, In Between: Cultural Hybridity, Community Rejection, and the Destabilization of Race in Percival Everett’s “Erasure”, Adam Mansbach’s “Angry Black White Boy”, and Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia”

Posted in Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2011-09-01 23:54Z by Steven

In the Middle, In Between: Cultural Hybridity, Community Rejection, and the Destabilization of Race in Percival Everett’s “Erasure”, Adam Mansbach’s “Angry Black White Boy”, and Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia”

Howard University
84 pages
Publication Number: AAT 1495397
ISBN: 9781124728568

Laura R. Perez

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Howard University In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in the Department of English

Cultural hybridity, a term first introduced by post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha, has been a shifting and difficult to define concept within academic discourse. My thesis will focus on cultural hybridity as the embodiment of a pluralistic identity that encompasses the characteristics or attributes of more than one culture or race. I will examine three contemporary literary works of racial satire—Percival Everett’s Erasure, Adam Mansbach’s Angry Black White Boy, and Danzy Senna’s Caucasiathat present culturally hybrid protagonists and explore the ways in which these protagonists are utilized to destabilize race. Furthermore, I will demonstrate the tensions that this destabilization creates through community rejections of each protagonists’ hybridity – tensions that become inherent to hybridity itself.

My exploration will include an analysis of the protagonists’ hybridity—the ways in which they do not fit into the existing notions of what blackness or whiteness is—and how this hybridity is marginalized by their communities. Following this, I will explicate the protagonists’ responses to their marginalization—their creation of dual identities or alter egos and the racial/psychoanalytic significance of this process. I will draw upon post-colonial and critical race theory writings, as well as Freudian and Lacanian theory, to frame my analysis. But most importantly, I will draw upon the work of scholars—including Marwan Kraidy, Jopi Nyman, Sabrine Broeck, Pnina Werbner, Peter Burke, and Robert Young—to theorize hybridity within my analysis.

Finally, I will examine the novels’ conclusions, during which the protagonists’ dual identities are forcefully merged, and demonstrate the lack of resolution that this merging creates. This examination will reveal that the community rejections of hybridity in each novel are, in themselves, impossible to mediate. Thus, I will prove that each protagonist’s hybrid positioning not only destabilizes race by challenging the concreteness of racial categorizations, but that this positioning, and the community’s response to it, also demonstrates the tensions inherent to hybridity itself. In this way, each text undermines the black-white binary, while also affirming the tensions that result from not willfully engaging in it.

Table of Contents

  • Thesis Committee
    • Background to the Problem
    • Statement of the Problem
    • Review of Literature
    • Theoretical Framework and Methodology
    • Plan of Research
    • Definition of Terms

Purchase the dissertation here.

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Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race, 2nd Edition

Posted in Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2010-08-26 04:42Z by Steven

Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race, 2nd Edition

248 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-415-31183-0

Robert J. C. Young, Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature
New York University

As one of the most important books in post-colonial studies, this book argues that contemporary theories on post-colonialism and ethnicity are disturbingly close to the colonial discourse of the nineteenth century.

Rather than marking ourselves off from patterns of thought which characterized Victorian racial theory, we show remarkable complicity with historical ways of viewing ‘the other’, both sexually and racially. ‘Englishness’, Young suggests, has been less fixed and stable than uncertain, fissured with difference and a desire for otherness.

In this updated new edition, the author revisits the ideas set out in the book in light of recent developments in post-colonial theory, including projects influenced by his own work. With this fresh intervention, Robert Young is set once again to re-energize his field and open new channels of debate.

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Signs of Race in Poststructuralism: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race

Posted in Books, Monographs, Philosophy, Social Science on 2009-09-08 21:39Z by Steven

Signs of Race in Poststructuralism: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race

University Press of America, Inc.
March 2009
176 pages
6 1/2 x 9 1/2
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-7618-4505-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-7618-4506-5

Robert Young, Associate Professor of English
University of Alabama

This book presents a class-based analysis of poststructuralism and race.  The author positions this fundamental question at the heart of his project: why does race still work if it is commonly misunderstood to be a social construct?  The answer is that race works because it operates like a commodity, and like any commodity, as long as it generates value (understood in the widest possible sense: economic, political, and cultural-ideological value), it will remain in circulation.  This study should contribute to our understanding of race by linking questions of use value to exchange value.

Robert Young is associate professor of English at University of Alabama.  He specializes in African-American literary and cultural theory.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Race as Commodity Fetish
  • Chapter 2: Putting Materialism back into Race Theory: Toward a Transformative Theory of Race
  • Chapter 3: The Linguistic Turn, Materialism, and Race: The Postmodern Crisis in African-American Literary Theory and Richard Wright‘s Critique of Ideology
  • Chapter 4: The Politics of Race and Psychoanalysis: Richard Wright’s Critique of Bourgeois Subjectivity in Savage Holiday
  • Chapter 5: Oral Textualities, Oral (Blues) Poetics, and Oral Erotics: Disabling the Exchange Economy in Gayl JonesCorregidora
  • Bibliography
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