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ERIC Number: EJ975599
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 71
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0994
Rhetorics of Displacement: Constructing Identities in Forced Relocations
Powell, Katrina M.
College English, v74 n4 p299-324 Mar 2012
Forced displacement has often involved the use of rhetoric, both by government institutions and by people who struggle not only to survive displacement, but also to resist it. In this article, the author offers first a theoretical framework that informs her thinking about displacement narratives. She briefly examines two published displacement narratives, Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke" (a documentary film about Hurricane Katrina) and Dave Eggers's "What Is the What" (a novel about a "lost boy" from Sudan). She uses these examples as "spectacular rhetorics" of displacement, highlighting the ways that accepted discourses of displacement typically get told. She then turns to a US eminent domain case, and her participation in the rendering of a narrative about that case, to closely examine the ethical and analytical challenges of constructing such a narrative. Ultimately, she uses the case to draw insights into the narratives presented in Lee's documentary and Eggers's novel, commercialized testimonial forms, and she suggests a way of reading and constructing such narratives that further considers the contexts within which they are created. (Contains 2 figures and 39 endnotes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sudan; United States