Publication Date

2012-06-15

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2012-06-15

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

English (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2012-05-09

First Committee Member

Patricia J. Saunders

Second Committee Member

Brenna Munro

Third Committee Member

David Luis-Brown

Fourth Committee Member

Elena Machado-Saez

Abstract

In this project I explore the relationship of sacred citizenship as an alternative and at times overlapping form of politics to national citizenship. Sacred citizenship creates a possibility of belonging for marginalized identities in Caribbean and Caribbean diasporic women’s writing. All the novels examined in this project, Cristina García’s Monkey Hunting (2004), Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night (2001), Patricia Powell’s The Pagoda (1998), Mayra Montero’s The Red of His Shadow (2001), Ana-Maurine Lara’s Erzulie’s Skirt (2006), and Daína Chaviano’s The Island of Eternal Love (2008), depict protagonists that practice restricted versions of national citizenship. Due to varying degrees of marginality, the protagonists, therefore, construct alternative and qualitative citizenship practices. Belonging through sacred citizenship strikes a balance among acknowledging the materiality of the body, how one produces sacral spaces for the self, and the physical, spiritual and psychological crossings that push against long-standing epistemic frameworks of being and understanding. All the novels share a common investment in challenging linear and dominant histories that marginalize subjects. By introducing complex temporalities pregnant with sacral opportunities, the novels critique earlier discourses written on historical experiences and invest value in intimate acts usually abjected by dominant society. All the sacral moments experienced during flexible temporalities allow the protagonists to imagine inter-subjective belonging and transpersonal coalition through physical, gendered and sexual crossings as well as cosmological and mystical practices.

Keywords

Caribbean; women; literature; sacred; citizenship; Cuban american

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