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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Global Moments: Spectatorship, Violence and the Urban in Contemporary Fiction
by Martinsen, Eric Lars, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2010, 210; 3428001
Abstract (Summary)

Global moments, or instances of intense cross-cultural engagement, are rich nodes for analyzing how novelists and filmmakers envision cultural globalization in postcolonial fiction, U.S. ethnic writing and contemporary film. In my dissertation, I argue that global moments occur when multiple and often incongruous frames of reference converge and the subject attempts to produce meaning in a new way that allows for, contains or erases the contradictions of global interaction. Embedded in each global moment is the kernel of an interpretive crisis and a subsequent attempt to deal with this collision of meaning−making systems through a range of resolutions: from violent retrenchment in local values to the cosmopolitan move toward the other. The introductory chapter lays out a theoretical framework for global moments with special attention to Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Each following chapter deals with one of three tropes in global fiction and film: transnational spectatorship in movie theaters; intercultural violence in the torture chamber; and dystopic representations of global cities. Depictions of movie going in novels such as Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey and Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters provide an apt conceptual model for imagining the disruptions, incongruities and creative opportunities of cultural globalization. In works such as Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” and J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, representations of torture also foreground the problem of reading across boundaries where violent inscription of the other serves as a method to reestablish slipping power in the face of cultural relativization. Likewise, global cities are particularly potent sites for depictions of interpretive interaction between radically different cultural groups brought into close quarters in the classic science−fiction film Blade Runner, Alejandro Morales’ The Rag Doll Plagues and Amitav Ghosh’s The Calcutta Chromosome. In addition, each of these tropes opens up a critical space to consider major issues of globalization such as the mobility of populations, violent ethnic conflicts, local/global spaces, and the role of the media.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lim, Shirley G., Gunn, Giles
Commitee: Abbott, Porter
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: English
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, American literature, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Film spectatorship, Global cities, Globalization, Postcolonial literature, Torture, U.S. ethnic literature
Publication Number: 3428001
ISBN: 978-1-124-33238-3
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