Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Siraj Ahmed

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Poetry | Social History | United States History

Keywords

ethics of representation, New York history, New York Juvenile Asylum, persona poetry

Abstract

The New York Juvenile Asylum, founded in 1851, was one of New York’s first institutional responses to the problems associated with the poor. It, and the theories of asylum that undergird the institution, still exist today in the form of Children’s Village. The location of Children’s Village, located just a few hundred yards from my home, prompted me to consider the distance between my family and the children who reside at Children’s Village; between my historical context and that of the children who resided at the New York Juvenile Asylum - and their parents who surrendered them there; and between my situation and theirs, bridgeable or unbridgeable through my capacity for empathy and imagination. This project attempts to understand and deepen my relationship to the children surrendered to the New York Juvenile Asylum and their parents by: considering the theory of the ethics of representation in literature; researching the historical and theoretical context for the New York Juvenile Asylum; and crafting a series of poems in the persona of the children surrendered to the New York Juvenile Asylum and their parents.

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