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Title:Strangers from within, strangers from without: negotiations and uses of space in African American and immigrant literatures and cultures, 1900s-1950s
Author(s):Tuszynska, Agnieszka
Director of Research:Nelson, Cary
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nelson, Cary
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Parker, Robert D.; Foote, Stephanie; Barrett, James R.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):multi-ethnic literature
African American Literature
white ethnic literature
Abstract:On June 24, 1916, the New Republic published an editorial that began: "The average Pole or Italian arriving at Ellis Island does not realize that he is the deadly foe of the native Negro . . . It is a silent conflict on a gigantic scale." While this statement illustrates only a limited view of the cross-cultural encounters that it describes, it is based on historical facts that anchor my dissertation which explores the relationship between cultural constructions of space and literary visions of ethnicity and Americanness in fiction. My parallel readings of African American and immigrant novels show that the disciplinary boundaries which are often drawn between African American literature and white ethnic literatures can be imaginatively negotiated by examining the construction of space and place in black and white-ethnic writing. I argue that both black and immigrant literature of the time casts the relationship between ethnic/racial subjects and spaces as a challenge to the contemporary definition of American identity. My dissertation offers an approach to ethnic literatures that seeks parallels and dialogues among ethnic groups and their literary representations, while simultaneously acknowledging the historically nonnegotiable differences. I turn to geocriticism as my analytical tool, thus focusing on literary spatiality as the key to these cross-ethnic negotiations.  
Issue Date:2013-05-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Agnieszka Tuszynska
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-28
Date Deposited:2013-05

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