Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gina Caison

Second Advisor

Jay Rajiva

Third Advisor

Randy Malamud


This project examines the relationship between transnational Indigeneity and effectuate trauma in Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale (2008). The novel’s protagonist, Thomas Just, endures trauma that emerges from a transnational adoption narrative, which complicates notions of race- and place-based conceptions of selfhood. To analyze Thomas’s production of identity, I look to Kevin Bruyneel’s The Third Space of Sovereignty: The Postcolonial Politics of U.S.–Indigenous Relations (2007) and Mark Jerng’s Claiming Others: Transracial Adoption and National Belonging (2010). Through these lenses, I interrogate the onto-epistemological boundaries that complicate Thomas’s ability to exist in more than one culture and topological community at once. Thomas’s identity exists in and of a metaphysical and sociopolitical “elsewhere” that, although is of two places, is not confined in these physical places and further prevents him from wholly re-integrating into the two communities in which he was once a part.