Wounded whiteness: masculinity, sincerity, and settlement in contemporary U.S. fiction

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Zachary S. Laminack (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Christian Moraru

Abstract: This dissertation examines representations of wounded white masculinity in contemporary American fiction from the late 1960s to the mid-2000s through a critical perspective developed within Native-authored creative and critical work. It departs from currents within studies of contemporary U.S. fiction in approaching representations of the experience of whiteness within settlement in nonnative writing. The project’s critical focus is grounded in the work of Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene) and Anna Lee Walters (Otoe/Pawnee). Alexie and Walters theorize white masculinity as the experience of prosthetic belonging within settlement. The project develops their theories of whiteness into a unique approach to novels typically read as exemplars of postmodern narrative. Reading works from Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jonathan Safran Foer, Wounded Whiteness examines the ways these writers imagine sincerity as an emotional prosthetic for white masculinity. This examination yields a new perspective on contemporary fiction’s engagement with questions of personal, spatial, and national belonging in highlighting the embodied, sensory dimensions of racial and gender identity for a category—white masculinity—typically associated with disembodied rationality. The dissertation thus demonstrates the extent to which contemporary U.S. fiction imagines performances of white masculinity’s distanced disembodiment as actively dependent on the sensory inhabitance of others’ identities; and how, out of those relationships, white masculinity instantiates an expansive experience of belonging within contested spaces.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
American Literature (21st Century), Masculinity, Settler-Colonial Studies, Whiteness
Masculinity in literature
Men, White, in literature
Whites in literature
Sincerity in literature
Victims in literature
Colonization in literature
American literature $y 21st century $x History and criticism
Alexie, Sherman, $d 1966- $x Criticism and interpretation
Walters, Anna Lee, $d 1946- $x Criticism and interpretation

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