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Nowhere near : displaced self and nation in Korean and American postmodern texts

Author: Ju Young Jin; Indiana University, Bloomington. Department of Comparative Literature.; Indiana University, Bloomington,
Publisher: [Bloomington, Indiana] : Indiana University ; Ann Arbor : ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013.
Dissertation: Ph. D. Indiana University 2013. Thesis
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Publication:Dissertation Abstracts International, 74-07A(E).
Summary:
This study explores the figure of the displacement as a trope for cultural and social alienation. I compare and contrast the different expressions of displacement to arrive at a cross-cultural understanding of its implication in Korean and American postmodern texts. I examine American postmodernist novels of Vladimir Nabokov as well as works of Asian American writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Chang-rae Lee, and
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Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Ju Young Jin; Indiana University, Bloomington. Department of Comparative Literature.; Indiana University, Bloomington,
ISBN: 9781267983954 1267983957
OCLC Number: 900722537
Notes: "Department of Comparative Literature, Indiana University."
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 74-07(E), Section: A.
Adviser: Vivian Nun Halloran.
Description: 1 online resource (viii, 226 pages)
Other Titles: Displaced self and nation in Korean and American postmodern texts
Responsibility: Ju Young Jin.

Abstract:

This study explores the figure of the displacement as a trope for cultural and social alienation. I compare and contrast the different expressions of displacement to arrive at a cross-cultural understanding of its implication in Korean and American postmodern texts. I examine American postmodernist novels of Vladimir Nabokov as well as works of Asian American writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Chang-rae Lee, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Korean postmodern novels written by Kim Young-Ha and construe displaced self and nation in these texts both as the logical outcome of nihilism and postmodern strategies of coming to terms with it. The figure and the trope of displacement discussed here highlight the complexity of postcolonial studies and the ways in which it converges with postmodernism as well as to subvert the tenets of nationalism.

Throughout the study, I conceptualize displacement to be a strategic, subversive trope of postmodern novels to overcome nihilism and the anxiety of origin, self-referentiality and relativism in the similar vein of Jacques Derrida's conception of undecidability. The texts that I examine employ displacement as a way to marshal in a series of rewriting strategies such as mise-en-abyme and intertextuality to destabilize the structure of representation by casting the center/the dominant into the abyss, an epistemological black hole that stultifies certainty and binary concepts. Inside the trope of displacement, postmodernism and nihilism are implicated in their shared predicament, a crisis in meaning making and legitimation process, and the writers I discuss illuminate how art employs the concept of displacement in a productive light as a way of artistic meaning-making. I emphasize the importance of recognizing the specificity of individual motivations and historical, social, cultural, political and economic conditions and contexts of displacement shown in the texts, and how these affect different and shifting modalities of subject and sense of national belonging. The silenced and unacclaimed voices these texts dredge up from oblivion not only tell us how ethnic, national and cultural specificities entwine and converge but also how this impacts upon whose histories are told and how many remain abandoned. Thus the narratives inspired by displacement demands the reader to inscribe one's own meaning in the text so as to engender possibilities for cultural critique and social change. Consequently, I analyze displacement both as a covert structural element and an overt trope to configure the act of overcoming nihilism.

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