Date of Degree

6-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Kandice Chuh

Committee Members

Wayne Koestenbaum

Eric Lott

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

This dissertation research examines, how can the act of describing, as a mode of writing, documenting, and representing minoritized bodies, be geared towards an anti-racist, multi-species, and decolonial aesthetic praxis? Paying close attention to modes of writing categorized under the rubric of description, such as ekphrasis, reportage in documentary film, travel writing, and ethnographic description, as this dissertation contends, are integral to understanding how we perceive and apprehend racialized people living out the legacies of coloniality. Through an analysis of 20th century Anglophone literature on the Americas and contemporary queer Latina/o literature, film, and art, this research looks closely at oft-overlooked styles and modes of writing like description, bound as description has been to an objective and empirical social scientific mode, and seeks to animate description with imaginative political potential to contribute to our understanding of literary studies, writing practice, and decolonial thinking.

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