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ERIC Number: ED526638
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 207
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-8041-9
Detour to Otherness: Cultural Identity Discourse in Contemporary American, Ukrainian, and Polish Literatures
Tkachuk, Yuliya Oleksandrivna
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Within the last decade the phrase "redefinition of identity in the age of globalization" has become yet another rarely elaborated cliche prevalent in literary scholarship that addresses cultural identity politics. In my dissertation I analyze how post-1990s novels in American, Ukrainian, & Polish literatures narrate cultural identity formation, and develop a theoretical framework of a three-step experience of symbolic displacement that explicates the process of identity redefinition. The study demonstrates that the understanding of one's belonging to a certain cultural system emerges as a result of (1) symbolic displacement--the destabilization of an inherited uncontested and holistic cultural space caused by the contact with the other; (2) chaotic relationship making, linking language and experience, personal & communal; (3) contextualization with otherness. The story of one's culture becomes meaningful after it is re-told so that it incorporates some degree of otherness. It might be the framework for narrativizing national catastrophes borrowed from the narratives of ethnic minorities or foreign cultures; or the language of the other integrated to develop a discourse, which would articulate a personalized meaning of one's culture; or the perspective of the other appropriated to comprehend the internal diversity of a community used to be perceived as homogeneous. Three "national literature" chapters of my thesis present the analysis of the imagery of the other in fiction works by J.S. Foer, A. Melnyczuk, L. Schwartz, Y. Andrukhovych, T. Prohasko, V. Kozhelyanko, S. Zhadan, E. Hoffman, D. Karpinski, J. Pilch, D. Maslowska, & A. Stasiuk. The combination of American and two different Slavic literatures allows me to prove the developed model of symbolic displacement viable and illustrate that the displacement might be of two kinds: synchronic, in which the alterity enters the space of dominant culture from the outside as a result of geographical relocation; & diachronic, in which the otherness is a consequence of the historical process of political or social shifts inside the dominant culture. The comparison demonstrates that despite the extensive tradition of addressing diversity in the American literature, the horizontal lines of intercultural exchange or the non-hierarchical "ethnorelativism of representation" emerges in American writing only recently, in the works produced as post-traumatic responses to the disturbing intrusions of alterity. Ukrainian identity politics moves along the lines of a diachronic symbolic displacement, the post-authoritarian shift, and calls into question the relevance of a homogenous cultural discourse supplied by the traditional national narrative. Contemporary Polish literature discovers domestic others and re-negotiates its cultural space by challenging the norm of maintaining a restricted set of definitions of the Polish. Regardless of the differences in literary traditions or the kinds of intercultural experience, the works from all three cultures depend on the same techniques of symbolic displacement and contextualization in constructing the meaning of a given culture. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A