Keywords

Biracial, Caucasia, Essentialism, Hybridity, Larsen, Mixed race, Passing, Quicksand, Race, Racial, Senna, Tragic mulatto

Abstract

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.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2006

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Casmier-Paz, Lynn

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

English

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0001361

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0001361

Language

English

Release Date

April 2013

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities

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