Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of English
Paul U Ugor
I propose a methodology of literary study to be used in a wide range of disciplines and genres. While there have been numerous applications of postcolonial theory to the analysis of texts produced before, during, and after colonization, this transnational feminist methodology (TFM) is updated or reinvented to include discussions of the psychological and material ramifications of neocolonialism and neo-imperialism, especially about the immigrant experience—in particular, the perspective of children of immigrants living in diasporic communities. The work’s focus on postcolonial feminism is complicated by looking at gender, race, trans-nationality, and other identity factors that shape the work of writers of marginalized identities living in the Western world from an intersectional perspective.In this work I have identified a methodology that has been used but isn’t very well defined. TFM is still in the process of being theorized and continues to evolve as seen in mostly interdisciplinary feminist academic journals. It is currently a fluid theory and there hasn’t been a clear understanding of how TFM can be used in the study of literary and cultural texts. But now, looking back nearly twenty-five years later, it seems that TFM has mostly been taken up in social studies, especially women’s studies, and not as much in literary studies and cultural studies. It seems then, then the main divide in TFM approaches has to do with practical applications in the real world vs. theoretical application, as with the study of literary and cultural production, a divide I hope to problematize in this dissertation as not mutually exclusive. Yet the urgency of applying TFM to cultural productions and literary texts not only is useful but it’s important and becoming even more urgent the longer it takes to become canonized. We need to talk about how it can be applied and how it can be used and analyze how artists are actually using it both as driving the work of cultural producers but also in the analysis of cultural production. TFM can be a framework for interpreting artistic creations, but to do that, we need to delineate some of the basic principles of this emerging methodology. For example, in addition to form, many cultural producers/artists who use TFM in their work or whose work lends itself to TFM analysis engage with adaptation. Often, creators engage or talk back to the Western literary canon, as is the case in this dissertation with Forushande talking back to Death of the Salesman and Godwin’s 2016 RSC production of Hamlet talking back to the original. The producers of these cultural artifacts use the Western white canon to make points about transnational feminism and liberation. All the texts under study here all deal with liberation and escaping colonialism or finding ways to produce art outside of them. Some key features they share include concepts such as adaptation, liberation through artistic expression, and a focus on bodily fragmentation. What these chapters have in common is their analysis of the way cultural producers engage in TFM through their work. Some of the key shared elements of TFM in literary and cultural production as demonstrated by the works selected in this dissertation include: 1) attention to form/adaptation/intertextuality in a postmodern way, 2) representations of women of color that fight for social justice with voice and agency, 3) situating locations with informed cultural references, 4) specific attention given to intersection, sexual, and race-based violence. This dissertation reflects what Tambe and Thayer identify as a TFM that “forges alliances based on common analytic goals rather than similarities of identities” (1).
Shahmiri, Sanam, "The Urgency for a Transnational Feminist Methodology: an Inclusive Analytical Framework for Neocolonialism and Globalization" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1538.
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