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Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Laura A. Doyle
James E. Smethurst
Emily J. Lordi
African American Studies | American Literature | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Women's Studies
Created to comment on Antebellum and Reconstruction literature, the tragic mulatto concept is habitually applied to eras beyond the 19th century. The tragic mulatto has become an end rather than a means to questioning racist and abolitionist agendas. Rejecting the pathetic and self-destructive traits inscribed by the tragic label, this dissertation uses geographic, cultural, and racial boundary crossing to theorize a rereading of mixed race characters in Harlem Renaissance literature. Focusing on train, automobile, and boat travel, the study analyzes the relationship between the character, transportation, and technology whereby the notion of race is questioned. Furthermore, the dissertation divides travel into departure, interstitial, and arrival phases. With the ability to extend perception and experience, media is also interpreted here as transportation. Using figurative and literal travel, the selected narratives move between localities to allegorize 20th mixed race subjectivity. Socially ambiguous and anonymous, interstitial moments suspend the normative performance of race and enable the selected authors’ investigations of race binarism. After the introduction establishes a theoretical frame composed of transnational and migration studies methods, the ensuing chapters demonstrate the interpretive function of travel in Jean Toomer’s Cane, Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, and Walter White’s Flight. This reading is aided by the connection between modernism and mixed race identity as expounded upon in the works of Robert E. Park, Mark Whalan, Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, Jeanne Scheper. However, it differs from these in its assertion of travel as an interpretive mode for mixed race literature as a tradition.
Enriquez, Colin, "HERE, THERE, AND IN BETWEEN: TRAVEL AS METAPHOR IN MIXED RACE NARRATIVES OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE" (2014). Doctoral Dissertations. 79.
African American Studies Commons, American Literature Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority Commons, Women's Studies Commons