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FROM DIXIE TO THE DOMINION: VIOLENCE, RACE, AND THE TIME OF CAPITAL
From Dixie to the Dominion: Violence, Race, and the Time of Capital explores the transnational expressive impact of the US South on the Canadian cultural imaginary in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While recent comparative approaches to studies of the Americas have had an emphasis on the spatial, this dissertation examines the temporal coordinates underwriting the relation between the US South and Canada. Each chapter of this dissertation examines the contemporaneous turn to the US South by Canadian and US writers and artists, who use scenes of racial violence to critique the temporality of commodified abstract labor. Informed by Saidiya Hartman's argument that the black body enabled white US subjectivity to negotiate its own self-possession and self-making within the increasingly abstract and immaterial world of capitalism, this study examines the ways in which scenes of subjection from the US South functioned in overlapping, although different, ways in the Canadian context. Representations of racial violence culled from the US South in Canadian cultural productions functioned, I argue, as moments of white enjoyment in the midst of anxieties and fears of white dispossession by the time of capital. Donald Pease and Robyn Wiegman argue that the heterogeneous insurgent time present in "anti-imperial" discourses is politically progressive, but the transnational politics accompanying Canadian and US literary contestations of the time of capital can be and usually are regressive in their discursive constructions of white supremacy. Examining racial violence comparatively, this dissertation contests the regionalisn often associated with racial violence that Malcolm X aptly notes when he says, "the Mississippi is anywhere south of the Canadian border." This study contributes to scholarship in New Southern Studies, and Hemispheric Studies more broadly, as it traces not only the ways in which "Mississippi" is in fact everywhere in Canada, but also the ways in which Canadian imaginings of the US South provide a genealogy of southern roots and routes that intimately locate Canada within "our Americas."
dissertation or thesis