Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Susan M. Comfort

Second Advisor

Tanya Heflin

Third Advisor

David B. Downing

Fourth Advisor

Alexis Lothian

Abstract

Situated within the transnational feminist movement which has gathered in response to the historical process of enclosure and regulation associated with capitalism, Caribbean women writers are uniquely positioned to bear witness or create resistance to the exploitation of their bodies and the environment under this system of slow violence. This dissertation takes up a queer eco- materialist feminist framework to explore the critiques and the methods of resistance to this system offered by Caribbean women writers.

Materialist feminists Maria Mies and Cynthia Enloe have contributed greatly to understanding how women’s labor has been exploited on a local and international scale. These writers have addressed the gaps in Marxist research addressing women’s domestic, affective, and reproductive labor. Transnational Caribbean queer feminism, such as the work of M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, provides analyses of citizenship that naturalizes state violence against women by incriminating homosexuality while relying on heterosexual women’s complicity in perpetuating gender ideology through virginity testing. In untangling the co-construction of gender and environment in the development of scientific discourse, this dissertation expounds four related social and economic processes that together form the structures of terror communicated in Caribbean women’s fiction in the 1980s and 90s. Domestic and mundane scenes from literature by Jamaica Kincaid, Maryse Condé, Erna Brodber, Edwidge Danticat, and Shani Mootoo reveal the terror experienced by women and transgender people in the Caribbean.Bottom of Form

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