Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Committee Member

Dr. Angela Naimou, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Jillian Weise

Committee Member

Dr. Walt Hunter

Abstract

In this paper I argue that Claudia Rankine, in Citizen (2014), by concentrating on the place and position of the radicalized body, creates a technique of resistance that emerges as assemblages against contemporary racism. Citizen narrates the stories of a range of racist incidents that happen to individuals, including the author herself and celebrities in Western societies. Those incidents have been narrated and re-contextualized through a unique technique of representation, where multiple genres, such as lyric, prose, and visual images, all collaborate in telling those stories in the text. In Citizen, resistance is the predominant mode of narration. The text privileges the moment of resistance during racist encounters. I draw from Frantz Fanon's black existentialism and Michel Foucault's theories of biopolitics and racism to illustrate that resistance precedes essence in the life of racialized people. Rankine, in Citizen, shows how resistance constitutes an important part in the life of racialized people's existence. Thus, this highlighting of resistance in the life of racialized people firmly places Citizen within the literature of resistance.

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