Living in Excess: Narrating Violence and Presence in Native American and Chicana Literature

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My dissertation outlines the ways in which a comparative study of Native American, First Nations, and Chicanx narratives of erasure and presence reveals remarkable and significant shared characteristics. This extensive comparison demonstrates these narratives’ similar modes of theorizing representations of the body and its violent absenting, their similar if distinct concerns about the nature of colonial violence and its legacies, and their similar understandings of and strategies for cultural continuity that bypass settler colonial definition. I examine their approaches to representing and navigating the violence of enforced absence and the technologies that create absence, and to exploring how it conditions the strategies for survival that exceed it, arguing that they thus articulate subjectivities that insist on an enduring presence outside the conceptual and linguistic jurisdiction of the state and its technologies. For example, they query nationalist melancholic politics and discourses on ghostliness even as they rethink ghostliness in their own discursive traditions in order to mark both absence and presence. But these similarities, as well as the entangled histories that complicate those similarities, have gone unnoticed by Chicanx and Native scholarship, and so I aim to address that paucity. The purpose of this dissertation is thus to investigate and compare narrative and artistic strategies for processing and representing ghostliness and presence in Chicanx and Native American literature and cultural production.

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213 pages


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Chicano literature; Native American literature; U.S. Latino literature


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Union Local


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P. Brady, Mary Pat

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Cheyfitz, Eric T.
Diaz, Ella Maria

Degree Discipline

English Language and Literature

Degree Name

Ph. D., English Language and Literature

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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