The (un)clear race: Configurations of whiteness in Anglophone literature of the Caribbean diaspora
This dissertation closely examines constructions of whiteness in contemporary Anglophone literature of the Caribbean Diaspora, addressing the following key questions: (1) why is it necessary to study whiteness specifically within a Caribbean context, (2) how are “white” characters represented and how do constructions of gender, sexuality, class, and geography both stabilize and destabilize their racial identity, and (3) why/how should aspects of critical whiteness theory be infused into academic discourse and ways of (re)learning history, particularly within the field of Postcolonial Studies?
The approach to these issues is interdisciplinary and incorporates a broad array of analytic strategies and academic discourses from areas of inquiry such as Caribbean Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Whiteness Studies, and Critical Race Theory. Sustained literary interpretations of three primary texts by writers of the Caribbean Diaspora are framed by theoretical analyses of the fields of Critical Whiteness and Postcolonial Studies. The historical and contemporary manifestations of whiteness are located, its weaknesses exposed, and its validity as a system of domination and control are challenged.
This work offers a unique and timely contribution to any discipline that seeks a better understanding of issues of identity. More specifically, this dissertation shows how and why a focus on the heterogeneity and incoherence of whiteness is crucial to our comprehension of and efforts towards eradicating racism and other interlocking forms of oppression.
0323: American studies