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Title:Defining postmodern masculinities: a symptomatic approach to understanding French masculinities
Author(s):Maroun, Daniel Nabil
Director of Research:Mathy, Jean-Philippe
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mathy, Jean-Philippe
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Mall, Laurence; Keller, Marcus; Chaplin, Tamara
Department / Program:French and Italian
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Digital Media
Abstract:This dissertation examines how the postmodern climate of the late eighties to nineties affords masculinity a new space to confront social and gender hierarchies while questioning dominant narratives and moving them to the periphery. Throughout each chapter, I am examining the discourse of crisis as it appears in the texts of French authors Michel Houellebecq, Erik Rémès, Guillaume Dustan, and Maghrebi author Abdellah Taïa. Each chapter offers a unique perspective into how postmodernism intersects with the supposed “crisis of masculinity” while underlining how these authors propose new performances of masculinity that sublimate classical interpretations and representations. In my first chapter, I highlight a breakdown in socio-cultural transmission and the weakening of the patriarchy by analyzing the representation of paternity in the texts of Michel Houellebecq and Erik Rémès. My analysis shows how the construction of masculinity in these texts is directly linked to the absence of a paternal figure. This absence in turn then questions the dominance and power of the patriarchy as it configures its authoritative power on the transmission of norms from father to son. In the second chapter, I analyze how the HIV/AIDS narratives of Guillaume Dustan and Erik Rémès queer the reproductive model. Their novels predicate existence with seropositivity and therefore to exist in the novel, one must be HIV+. These authors work to shift the center of discourse away from heterosexual reproduction to a queer model that necessitates the seroconversion of other queer men. Their texts work in two contradicting fashions: on one hand seroconversion replaces reproduction because in their literary universe only queer HIV+ men can exist and therefore erases heteronormativity from the novel; however, this model is still a reproductive model, albeit queer, that is mimicking its heterosexual biological counterpart. ii The third and final chapter examines both the textual and digitextual works of Abdellah Taïa departing from hexagonal masculinities and examining how Maghrebi masculinities negotiate the transforming backgrounds of postmodernism in a different socio-cultural setting than France. The literary analysis will demonstrate how Taïa’s protagonists attempt to carve out a distinct queer masculinity in the face of a culture that denies queers any masculinity. The digitextual portion of this analysis shows how Taïa injects himself as an author and public intellectual into the public landscape of Moroccan culture attempting to give a voice to marginalized Moroccan sexualities. The dissertation serves as an example of how one can explore a discourse of crisis of masculinity through the lens of postmodernism. Ultimately, the masculinities that are performed and brought to the fore of each novel anchor themselves on traditional notions but stand in opposition to heteronormative models.
Issue Date:2015-07-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Daniel Maroun
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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