Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Outside the Nation, Inside the Melancholic State(s) of Mind: Re-thinking the Rhetoric of Displacement and Re-membering the Immigrant Experience in Transnational Literature
by Savsar, Leyla, Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2018, 161; 13422228
Abstract (Summary)

Wanderers in the spaces of their memories and the streets of their would-be homes, generations of suffering immigrants are traced back to the past, propelled by the crescendo of melancholic stillness that moves displaced bodies through states of in-betweenness that both dispels and teeters on the far side of either assimilation or exclusion. Many transnational narratives situate the immigrant at a crossroads in terms of a loss of the ‘original’ culture in exchange for the new ‘American’ culture, where national diversities are confined to a singular framework and rhetoric of displacement, overruled by the myth of successful assimilation, whereby the hardships of adjusting to foreign spaces are ‘normalized’ and reduced to a series of trials. This portrayal, in turn, does not leave any room for the rhetoric of pain, or what I label as the ‘migrant’s mourning’, where the immigrant’s suffering is suppressed and eclipsed by a collective history of racial abjection. Insights into the psyche of the immigrant serve to map the hedge between the past and the present and absolute versus relative spaces. Applying psychoanalytical and postcolonial frameworks to literary analysis, this dissertation explores some of the prominent transnational narratives to establish that the melancholic dynamics of space, memory, and language can subvert misrepresentations and grant the immigrant mobility within the confines of homogenized spaces. It seeks to explore the ways in which the transnational American narrative employs melancholic tenor as aesthetics to empower displaced figures. Situating its protagonists at the locus of nations, these narratives underscore melancholia, mourning, and memory as tools and protocols of agency that challenge the myth of assimilation and re-think the rhetoric of displacement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Strehle, Susan
Commitee: Gopinath, Praseeda, Heywood, Leslie, Youssef, Mary
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: English, General Literature, and Rhetoric
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American literature
Keywords: Assimilation, Displacement, Immigrants, Melancholia, Migrant's mourning, Mourning
Publication Number: 13422228
ISBN: 978-0-438-88353-6
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