Date of Degree

2-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

French

Advisor

Domna C. Stanton

Committee Members

Francesca Canadé Sautman

Sam Di Iorio

Maxime Blanchard

Subject Categories

French and Francophone Literature

Keywords

social class, race, gender, home, Guadeloupe and Québec, Algiera and French Indochina

Abstract

Out of Home: Social Class in Women’s Writing 1950 – 2016 employs an intersectional feminist and critical race theory methodology to examine social class in relation to gendered and racial subjugations in the work of selected French and francophone women authors across diverse regions. This dissertation features Annie Ernaux’s texts in the introduction, and then the colonial societies of French Indonesia and Algeria as depicted by narrators in the position of colonizers in the first two chapters. In the last two chapters, post-colonial or settler societies of Guadeloupian and Québécois texts are shown as depicted by colonized or marginalized narrators. This study focuses on social class and marginalization, and home and exile; as such, it is fundamentally concerned with questions of exclusion and inclusion, and it affirms textual mechanisms of exclusion and elision in regards to class, race, and gender. Often, the texts studied show how these subjugations reinforce one another. Out of Home reveals social class to be mutable rather than static, and associated with home and a sense of self, appearing in conjunction with inequalities of race and gender. Characters might experience social class as mutable, that is, they can move into a higher social class, but struggle with feeling “out of place,” “between classes,” or “out of home.” For the women characters in these texts, agency and ability to articulate and resist social norms that constrain them does not increase during the period studied, but rather decreases, proves to be in vain, or proves to be impossible.

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