I Take Back My Body: Mapping the Female Body in Postcolonial Literature

Gad, Yasmine (2014) I Take Back My Body: Mapping the Female Body in Postcolonial Literature. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the ways in which cultural definitions of gender, sex, and race have equally impacted and disrupted women and their relationships in postcolonial culture. Such relationships can be with either with oneself or with others. My argument throughout this project is that colonialism as an act of systematic physical and psychological violence, together with its residual effects that split the individual and his/her community, is a primary cause of transgression. Breaking social boundaries takes place through a process of coding and decoding the body where female characters portrayed from a selected range of fiction demand agency in environments that deny them such power. In order to track the development or loss of feminine identity, I comparatively study the characters and incidents alongside one another to show how oppression, across time and space, can produce different expressions of revolt. Unlike colonized men who are also forced to question the integrity and wholeness of their body, with women the oppression is twofold: she is made inferior by nature of her race and her sex. Until today, this has serious implications that hinder the cultural development and economic progress of postcolonial cultures. Hence, the discussions presented in this project call for a feminist and postcolonial understanding of the corporeal body and challenges Cartesian ethics which conceptualize the mind as superior to the body. Arguably, they contribute to other dualities which participate in similar hierarchical ideals when discussing racial and sexual difference such as, self/other, masculine/feminine, civil/uncivilized. Crossing over different geographies, writers such as, Ahdaf Soueif and Toni Morrison showcase women who reject the dualisms, even if some of their struggles end tragically. Representing postcolonial women in this light invites a less biased understanding of the body as lived, and its reactions as consequent to where and how it goes about such living.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: feminist postcolonial comparative Arabic African American literature body phenomenology globalization transgression disorder veil Ahdaf Soueif Toni Morrison Assia Djebar Tsisti Dangarembga Kafrawi Mahasweta Devi
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Faculties > Humanities > School of English > Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2015 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2017 12:18 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/49618 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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