Biracial, Caucasia, Essentialism, Hybridity, Larsen, Mixed race, Passing, Quicksand, Race, Racial, Senna, Tragic mulatto
Twentieth-century American literature incorporates interracial and biracial themes that bring to light the often unnamed and unrecognized biracial identities of many Americans. Unfortunately, despite the potential value for a deeper understanding of the construction of race, these themes have seldom been seriously considered in the context of reevaluating the nature of the system that creates racial labels and categories until the recent emergence of postmodern critical theories. This thesis examines the black-white interracial themes and biracial protagonists in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928) and Danzy Senna’s Caucasia (1998) in order to explore the texts’ representations of systems of hegemonic power that create racial labels and categories. I discuss the binary sociopolitical construction of race in the United States (blackwhite) and the complexity of biracial identities as a foundation for my examination of literary representations of biracial subjectivity, racial passing, primitive exoticism, and the intersections between race, class and gender. I conclude that a study of the interracial theme in literature is a dive into the chasm between margin and center, the enunciative split between the binary racial signifiers black and white. Therefore, representations of biracial subjectivity provide a unique vantage point for surveillance of the complexities of the human struggle to gain and maintain power.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Fontenot, Kara, "The Sociopolitical Construction Of Race And Literary Representations Of The Biracial Subject" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1503.