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Title:A map of this place: Memory and the afterlives of removal
Author(s):Makhdoumian, Helen
Director of Research:Rothberg, Michael; Byrd, Jodi
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rothberg, Michael; Byrd, Jodi
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hassan, Wail; Yildiz, Yasemin
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):memory studies
trauma studies
diaspora studies
indigenous studies
settler colonial studies
Armenian American literature
Palestinian American literature
American Indian literature
First Nations literature
Abstract:This dissertation centers the category of indigeneity to reframe questions of place, space, movement, and belonging articulated in transnational and transcultural memory studies. To that end, I develop a connective study of how memories of dispossession and removal travel across time, generations, and geographies. I do so through a contrapuntal study of contemporary Armenian American, Palestinian American, and American Indian/First Nations novels and memoirs. Each of the four chapters features three texts, one from each canon. For my primary texts, I take up works by the following authors: Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Nancy Kricorian, Patricia Sarrafian Ward, Michael J. Arlen, Susan Abulhawa, Hala Alyan, Jean Said Makdisi, Tommy Orange, Susan Power, Linda Hogan, and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. In terms of structure, in Chapter One, I rearticulate an emerging framework on “settler mnemonics” to identify the novelists and memoirists whose works I study as witnesses to disappearing history. Political scientist Kevin Bruyneel coins “settler mnemonics” to articulate how the US nation-state remembers its founding in Indigenous territorial disposition. For my dissertation, I adapt this concept to the study of narrative form across these literary canons. Having laid the groundwork through my discussion on settler mnemonics, Chapters Two through Four proffer conceptualizations of what I call “nested memory,” a rubric that articulates the structure of the multigenerational transmission of memory in the face of the recursivity of collective trauma. In developing this framework, I draw upon the depiction of the space-time nexus in Nancy Kricorian’s prose poem “Homage to Bourj Hammoud” and Mohawk theorist Audra Simpson’s concept of “nested sovereignty.” As my analyses of novels and memoirs further illustrate, the notion of nesting also accounts for the ways in which memory work unfolds in place and how memories are emplaced. Ultimately, my interpretation of these literary texts brings Indigenous studies and settler colonial studies to the center of the study of the migration of memory, memory and migration, and the memory of migration.
Issue Date:2021-07-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Helen Makhdoumian
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08

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