Invisible presence: Toward a theory of African-American subjectivity
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
African-American, Subjectivity, Marxism, Race, Henry Louis Gates, Cornell West, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright
African American Studies | American Literature
In this dissertation I engage the question of race, and I argue for a class theory of race. In elaborating upon my position, I situate my account within existing theories of race. Specifically I critically engage postmodern linguistic accounts of race, as offered by theorists such as Henry Louis Gates and Cornell West, as well as the cultural inscription of race within fictional works of Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Richard Wright. What is missing from these two accounts is the role of class in shaping African-American subjectivity. In foregrounding class dimension of African-American identity, I argue that the African-American subject is marked by invisibility, an "invisible presence." By invisible presence I mean that African-American invisibility is necessary for the illusion of presence for dominant subjects. Furthermore, the presence of dominant subjects is ideologically related to the logic of the free market. African-American subjects are (ideologically) invisible and yet provide presence for dominant subjects.
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Young, Robert Milton, "Invisible presence: Toward a theory of African-American subjectivity" (2000). English - Dissertations. Paper 20.