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Title:Lack, Loss and Displacement: Renarrativizing "Chineseness" Through the Aesthetics of Southeast Asian Literature and Film
Author(s):Tan, Eng Kiong
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gary Xu
Department / Program:Comparative Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This dissertation focuses on Southeast Asian literature and film to discuss how overseas Chinese artists use narrative as a tool to reevaluate and renegotiate their hybrid identity. Through this evaluation, the theoretical notion of "Chineseness" is reconstructed within a temporal and spatial context. First, by historicizing the experience of Chinese diaspora from South East Asia; next, by problematizing the notion of ethnic purity, and destabilizing the function of the official language; and finally, by analyzing the influence the diaspora on culture history, a better understanding of the structures of diasporic experience can be concluded within the larger discourse of globalization and transnationalism. This process involves an interactive and complementary relationship between "China" and its diaspora, a relationship that mirrors the structure between the local and the global. By merging the global and local under a same discourse, the framework aims at creating a dialogue between "China" and its diaspora, alongside global and transnational trends. In addition to the introductory chapter that outlines the theoretical framework, this dissertation includes three chapters, with each chapter dealing with a specific theme of Chinese diasporic experience: lack, loss and displacement. These three themes are adopted to structure the dissertation, not to reinforce that they are sentiments of diasporic experience that paralyze diasporic subjects from identifying with the "authentic" origins of their cultural and ethnic heritage. Instead, these themes are reevaluated in the chapters as literary aesthetics, which are transformed into tools of empowerment for diasporic artists to destabilize and reconstruct conventional forms. In the context of this dissertation, the literary aesthetics of lack, loss and displacement functions as narrative catalysts to first negotiate and illuminate the significant role of the Chinese diaspora to the motherland, China, and second, to reestablish the relationship between the two.
Issue Date:2007
Description:239 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3290397
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2007

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