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Title: Citizenship, National Transformation and United States Fictions
Author: Deshpande, Tara
ISNI:       0000 0001 3422 7922
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is concerned with literary negotiations of nation and citizenship at key moments of U.S. national transformation.· It examines specifically. the ways that literature represents transformations in civic relationships, constructing and contesting the connection between citizen, or noncitizen, and state. In the wake of Revolutionary claims to guarantee a reciprocal relationship between citizen and state, Charles Brockden Brown's gothic novel Wieland (1798) represents the early republic's structures of authority as tyrannous. Tropes of 'spousal· murder, ventriloq'uism and seduction critique disenfranchised women's metaphoric death to the state, and engage the dangers of representative government. Lydia Maria Child's Hobomok (1828) and George Lippard's 'Bel of Prairie Eden (1848) problematise antebellum Manifest De.stiny by revealing the racialised contact that colonisation entailed. Child protests against Indian Removal by figuring the U.S. as an interracial family, in which Native Americans are integral. Lippard compares the U.S.Mexican War's violence to that of Spanish imperialism, undermining exceptionalism and representing contact as inherently corrupting. In the contexts of threatened and recently concluded Civil War respectively, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) and Thomas Wentworth Higginson's Army . Life in a Black Regiment (1869) negotiate the transformation of enslaved men into free citizens through armed resistance. Their representations of masculine, black heroism are inflected by assumptions about race and, in Stowe's case, by invocations of Spain and the U.S.-Mexican War. Pauline E. Hopkins's magazine novel Of One Blood (1902-03) responds to U.S. imperialism in Hawaii, Cuba and the Philippines. It uses transnational and pan-African perspectives to critique the nation's failed reconstruction after the Civil War as the cause of its interconnected, racialised domination of African Americans at home, and colonised peoples abroad. In all of these texts, tropes of reciprocal transformation contest attempts to represent the U.S. as homogeneous, eternal and exceptional. They operate in three overlapping relationships: those between foreign and domestic concerns, between the state and the individual, and between the U.S. and other nations or empires.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available