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Title:Border crossings: transgressions of national and gender identities in twentieth century Polish fiction
Author(s):Hutchens, Jack J
Director of Research:Gasyna, George Z
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gasyna, George Z
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cooper, David; Murav, Harriet; Kaganovsky, Lilya
Department / Program:Slavic Languages & Literature
Discipline:Slavic Languages & Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Polish literature
Queer Studies
Witold Gombrowicz
Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Julian Stryjkowski
Marian Pankowski
Olga Tokarczuk
Abstract:The goal of this dissertation is to make a literary intervention with a political message into the cultural life of Poland through the analysis of twentieth century Polish fiction. In the works I analyze transgression of normative identities takes on a quite deliberate, politically charged character. The limit is clear, and entirely unambiguous. The act of crossing that limit is purposeful, the goal being to subvert hegemonic institutions such as, in the works I read, nationalism and heteronormativity. It is my hope that the present work will function as an act of interference within the Polish political reality. My purpose, as idealistic as it may sound, is to make an intervention into both the cultural and political life of Poland. I wish to challenge the sometimes subtle but more often open support for nationalist, anti-gay voices in Poland. Instead of accepting the notion that identity is an always-already bounded, stable structure, closer investigation reveals its actual permeability, and therefore instability. More than the parallel processes of their creation, what links gender and nationality much closer to one another is the nationalist desire for an immutable, uniform standard of identity. Nationalism is necessarily a heteronormative system. It is a regulatory regime with a need to maintain fixed stable borders, which, whether political or sexual, must be guarded against invasions and pollution. The several works of twentieth century Polish fiction I analyze in these pages refute these attempts at regulation, subverting a nationalist mythos of a homogenous, straight Poland.
Issue Date:2016-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Jack J. Hutchens
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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