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Reconfiguring the Extraterritorial: History, Language, and Identity in selected works by Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz

Chiappe Bejar, Camilo; (2018) Reconfiguring the Extraterritorial: History, Language, and Identity in selected works by Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis argues for a reassessment of the concept of extraterritorial literature—a term coined by George Steiner in the late sixties to highlight the global approach of nomad authors who refused to belong to a single national tradition by means of linguistic experimentation. It does so by examining a variety of examples from the work of Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz, two authors born in separate nations within the same island (Hispaniola) who live in the United States and who write in a language strange yet adjacent to their countries of origin. Danticat and Díaz express their extraterritoriality through three different approaches: By reframing the ‘official’ historical discourse of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the 20th century perpetuated by the military regimes of the Duvaliers and Trujillo; by diversifying theories of identity creation and the migrant’s role within and outside of his or her diaspora; and by reconfiguring the elocution of a new extraterritorial language which challenges pre-established parameters through the subversion of Core languages. On a larger scale, this thesis contends that, in an increasingly fluid contemporary world, extraterritorial literature can serve as a counterpoint to the insular concerns of canonical systems of classification and standardised concepts of national literature. As such, extraterritorial literature also asks us to reconsider labels such as post-nationalism and cosmopolitanism as flights of fancy detached from the harsh realities instilled by the many levels of economic and cultural inequality between nations. Whereas Goethe saw comparative literature as a practice founded upon dialogues between national literatures, extraterritorial literature transcends frontiers by embracing its own complexities and inherent incompleteness, ultimately helping to construct liminal scopes and a framework for the constant critique of literary terminology itself.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Reconfiguring the Extraterritorial: History, Language, and Identity in selected works by Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057940
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