Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Carol Marsh-Lockett

Second Advisor

Dr. Ian Almond

Third Advisor

Dr. Renée Schatteman

Abstract

21st-century Neo-anticolonial Literature and the Struggle for a New Global Order explores the twenty-first-century fiction of five writers and investigates the ways in which their works engage the legacy and evolution of empire, and, in particular, the expansion of global capitalism to the detriment of already-subjugated communities. Taking up a recent call by Postcolonial scholars seeking to address the contemporary challenges of the postcolonial condition, this project traces out three distinct forms of engagement that function as a resistance in the texts. The dissertation introduces these concepts via a mode of analysis I have called Neo-anticolonialism, a counter-hegemonic approach which, I argue, is unique to the twenty-first century but rooted in the anticolonial work of Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon. Building on a foundation laid by those activist scholars, this project argues that Neo-anticolonialism necessitates the bridging of discourse and activism; thus, the dissertation delineates the utility of Neo-anticolonialism in both literary scholarship and practical application. Through a close analysis of the fiction of the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaican Michelle Cliff, Amitav Ghosh, a South Asian writer, African American writer Edward P. Jones, and Black British writer Caryl Phillips, the project offers a Neo-anticolonial reading of several twenty-first-century texts. In doing so, I explain the depiction of these instances of resistance as Neo-anticolonial Refractions, literary devices which function as prisms that cast images thus exposing the perpetuation of inequality in the twenty-first century and its direct link to the past epoch. Moreover, each chapter, through an explication of the refractions, reveals how resistance occurs in the face of the brutal reality of oppression and how this cadre of writers engages with the history of empire as well as with its contemporary permutations.

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