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Title: Migrant Modalities: Radical Democracy and Intersectional Praxis in American Literatures, 1923-1976
Authors: Robles, Francisco Eduardo
Advisors: Brooks, Daphne A
Contributors: English Department
Keywords: American
Subjects: American literature
African American studies
Hispanic American studies
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Beginning with Jean Toomer's Cane, my dissertation tracks the representation of migrants by exploring specific and often subtle methods of experimentation that revise the conditions of dialogue between author, subject, and reader. Placing it in conversation with Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera, I seek to establish Cane as a border text to construct a theoretical framework for my dissertation, as well as thinking through a literary history of American internal migration in the 20th Century. The dissertation then discusses Muriel Rukeyser and Zora Neale Hurston, creating a dialogue that reassesses their writing as concrete and specific rather than populist or folksy. In this chapter, I specifically attend to black migrant workers in the 1930s and the means through which both Hurston and Rukeyser sought dignity and justice for the men and women they (re)presented on the page. The third chapter discusses Sanora Babb together with Woody Guthrie, setting the stage for my engagement with music. Considering the plight of the Okies in a dissertation largely devoted to African American literature allows me to explore more fully the era of revolutionary possibility envisaged by the Popular Front politics of the 1930s and ’40s. Including Babb in this conversation diversifies the conversation by adding a strong voice—too long relegated to footnotes—dedicated to exploring gender politics. I then consider Tomás Rivera together with Lydia Mendoza. Tracing the movement of migrants from Texas and Mexico to the Midwest and beyond, I map out a geographical and literary path of major importance to the Mexican American community, in particular envisioning new models of collective representation and politics. I conclude by discussing Odetta and Alice Walker, exploring their rigorous revisions of aesthetics and history as revolutionary critiques of the past and present, particularly by examining how each artist crafts textual space.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:English

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