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Title:Writing hybridity: identity, dialogics, and women's narratives in the Americas
Author(s):Ortega, Gema
Director of Research:Palencia-Roth, Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Palencia-Roth, Michael
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Goldman, Dara E.; Somerville, Siobhan B.; Talbot, Emile J.
Department / Program:Comparative & World Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Race and Ethnic Theory
Women's Literature
Literature of the Americas
Abstract:This work examines the concept of “hybridity” and critically engages with the intellectual and political discourses that have attempted to define its meaning from the time of the Spanish Empire to the postmodern era. As a phenomenon resulting from cross-cultural encounters, hybridity has always posed a danger to fixed categorizations of identity, and thus a variety of discourses of hybridity have surfaced across different traditions in order to control its meaning. After the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas, the need to restrain cultural mixture and therefore define “hybridity” was pressing. Thus, the discourse of mestizaje appears first to differentiate Spaniards from non-Spaniards, and later to give a fixed national identity to Spanish America and its people. Similarly, in the French Caribbean, creoleness put limits on the otherwise fluid interaction of African, native, and European peoples. More recently, postmodernist notions of hybridity assume that cross-cultural encounters cause individuals to live in a state of uncertainty, making “hybridity” a synonym of liminality and constant in-betweeness. This dissertation argues that three women writers, Toni Morrison, Rosario Ferré, and Marysé Condé, reevaluate those theories of hybridity challenging the claim that hybridity have provided a site of resistance to hegemonic and monologic forces. In contrast, their novels redefine hybridity, emphasizing its narrative quality and therefore maintaining the openness of individual identifications. They share with Mikhail M. Bakhtin the idea that hybrid consciousness evolves as a kind of narrative. Thus, these three writers rescue “hybridity” from the realm of theory and cultural generalizations, and realign it with forms of storytelling that construct stories of self through the discourses of others. Hybridity is presented as an artistic expression that at once controls and incorporates others’ discourses into single texts that tell the stories of female characters who have achieved hybrid consciousness.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Gema Ortega
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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