Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Ammiel Alcalay

Committee Members

Steven Kruger

David Richter

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Philosophy


Michel Foucault, biopolitics, Derrida, Chang-rae Lee, philosophy of history, realism


This dissertation articulates the politics of contemporary literature via addressing the theoretical problem at the heart of Foucault studies. The Kantian problem of articulating the “origin” of knowledge was also at the core of Foucault’s oeuvre. The dissertation derives a concept, here-elsewhere, from its analysis of The Order of Things to argue that here-elsewhere addresses the problem at hand via articulating the difference and the sameness that spans the Kantian continuum of I-Other. It denotes the continuum as a relative spatio-temporality with a vector, which reflects Foucault’s interest in the modern physics. As a realist and critical concept, here-elsewhere reaches the core of Nietzschean philosophy, addressing the limits in deconstructive practice by articulating critical practice as vectorial. Foucault, then, aims to transvalue our nihilistic reality via a confessional discourse along the I-Other continuum. Thus, the politics of contemporary literature lies in the experience of the Other directly addressing me. In this light, literature can illuminate the politics of our realities via here-elsewhere, as I demonstrate in my reading of A Gesture Life. Also, literary experience as articulated by writers such as Orhan Pamuk suggests possibilities for literary theory to enlighten, and constitute, the theory of the real.