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Title: Unsettling fictions : coloniality and resistance in contemporary Native American and South African literatures
Author: Macklin, Rebecca Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 8098
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is the first full-length study to comparatively explore Native American and South African literatures. It advances a method of reading that enables a productive comparison of contemporary fiction written by Native American and black and coloured South African authors. It is my contention that post/de-colonial, Indigenous and African studies must be brought into dialogue in order to better understand how literature can be used to resist ongoing forms of colonial oppression. By comparing literary responses to conditions of racial, gendered and environmental forms of injustice, I reconceptualize distinct experiences of colonial violence under capitalist globalization as fundamentally interconnected. In doing so, I consider the potential of the novel as a relational object to bring into being new modes of connectivity between selected others. Bringing Native American and South African literatures into dialogue with one another allows for parallels and contrasts to be drawn between different postcolonial contexts. This enables a more holistic understanding of different conceptualizations of postcoloniality and indigeneity in different global spaces. The chapters in this thesis reveal South African and Native American experiences as always interpellated by coloniality. Yet, I argue that we can read these literatures together, not only through their shared negotiation of the enduring effects of coloniality, but also through what I identify as a shared grammar of resistance that is rooted in the recovery of alternative knowledges, narrative forms and ways of being. The novels in this study are situated within distinct literary traditions of resistance, but by bringing them together I argue for a relational framework that registers the implicit and explicit connections across the texts. For, while settler colonial nation states can be understood in relation to one another, I argue that resistance movements – and specifically literatures of resistance – can also be understood through a logic of relationality. This project brings together what I identify as strategies of ‘unsettling’ and their uses within literature: from the ways that literature is being used to unsettle settler colonial mythologies and commodified narratives of indigeneity, to the potential of non-Western worldviews to disrupt colonial knowledge systems. This study examines how these novels unsettle dominant narratives that have been reproduced in distinct geopolitical spaces through the logic of coloniality. In tracing the ways that Native American and South African authors undertake this work, I register the potential of literature to bring about disruptive transformation. The new readings of novels generated by this discussion contributes to a decolonization of our intellectual engagement with literatures, politics and culture in the contemporary moment.
Supervisor: Taberner, Stuart ; Carroll, Hamilton Sponsor: Leverhulme Trust ; US-UK Fulbright Commission
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available