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Title:Discourse and Psyche: Three Women's Texts of Empire
Author(s):Tobin, Jennifer Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zohreh T. Sullivan
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Asian
Abstract:While the period of the last fifteen years has seen the publication of numerous analyses of women's writing of empire, the study of colonial women's texts has been limited by critics' working within the theoretical framework of complicity and resistance. Rather than exploring the dynamic psychic processes that give rise to colonial women's representations of the colonized, critics have largely, indeed almost exclusively, identified and categorized the ideological positions of colonial women's texts, concluding that the texts are either complicit with or resistant to (or sometimes both) imperial politics. This study begins to shift the terms of analysis of colonial women's writing away from the ethical binarism of complicity and resistance to explore the dynamic "processes of subjectification" that women's colonial discourse enacts (Bhabha, "Other Question," 18--19). Taking inspiration from numerous psychoanalytic studies of male-authored imperial texts, this thesis shows how the dynamic forces of aggression, identification, and sexuality inform and shape colonial women's writing. Tracing the currents of desire in women's imperial writing both challenges the implicit association of colonial women with ethics and morality (or lack thereof), and demonstrates how and why, rather than simply that, the colonized are represented in certain ways in their texts. Using a combination of psychoanalysis and discourse theory, I show how three popular colonial writers of the late nineteenth century---Mary Kingsley, Olive Schreiner, and Flora Annie Steel---construct portraits of the colonized that reflect the particular fears and desires generated by the writers' historically and socially specific gendered subject positions within late Victorian society.
Issue Date:2000
Description:221 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9990166
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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