Date of Degree

9-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Women's and Gender Studies

Advisor

Dána-Ain Davis

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Korean Studies | Modern Literature | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

Keywords

Aesthetics, Poetics, Embodiment, Decolonial Feminism, Anti-colonialism, Anti-imperialism

Abstract

Defining revolutionary struggle as a struggle between fictions, Trinh T. Minh-ha asserts that art in revolution is a spiritual presence which widens the conception of freedom. Political struggle is constituted by clashes in differently written and conceived realities—hinged on the creation and realization of multiple liberatory fictions. Liberation then requires us to attend to creating new myths and conceptions of freedom which can free us from the current structures of domination that produce current subjects and realities. If culture is indeed an “essential element in the history of a people,” mapping decoloniality in cultural and aesthetic fields may be essential to redefining how to live intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and existentially. Taking this statement to heart, this project lives in the fragment of the multiple projects of feminisms, one that is critically informed by decolonial and revolutionary feminisms and strives to expand beyond what is previously delineated as politics, art, and feminism framed and written by the West. Defining a singular point of contact in the overlapping networks and conversations within cultural politics, women of color feminisms, and artistic production, I write through artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha who eschews categorical understandings of genre and aesthetics, while fiercely critiquing the historical, political, and hegemonic forces that have shaped her and many others’ lives. Following writings by scholars on Dictee and the genealogy of women of color’s writing in the 1980s onwards, I trace Dictee’s singular vision of how politics and aesthetics mingle and necessitate each other towards a liberation of senses and bodies.

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