Towards an erotics of hybridity: Bodies at the crossroads of a nation

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Sandra Pouchet Paquet - Committee Chair


The concept of a heterosexual society continues to serve as an ideological tool and persistent cultural formula that encourages male patriotism at the exclusion of women and other non-mainstream groups. This project examines the complex strategies of resistance marginalized groups deploy to counter these hegemonic discourses and normalizing narratives that mark the public sphere as heterosexist, masculinist, and racist. As accessories of power, markers of race, sex, and gender have been used to map the female body as a site of fertility and reproduction, to control female subjectivity and agency, and to delineate the racialized Other as transgressive. Michelle Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven (1987), Patricia Powell's The Pagoda (1999), Shani Mootoo's Cereus Blooms at Night (1996), and Elizabeth Nunez's Bruised Hibiscus (2000), as well as Mary Seacole's autobiographical narrative The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1867) are a select, but representative, body of texts by women in which liminal constructions of gender, race, and sexuality work to redefine the individual's place within and outside the boundaries of nation. I propose an 'erotics of hybridity' as a new conceptual framework that deconstructs the production and operation of power within the public and private spheres. The 'erotic' is used well beyond its connotation with sexuality; it is a metaphor for power; it is a resource located within the context of travel and migration through which transnational, Caribbean discourses and subjectivities appropriate and defy systems of oppression.


Literature, Caribbean; Women's Studies

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