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  • Publication
    American literatures of dislocation in the age of Cold War transnationalism
    (University College Dublin. Clinton Institute For American Studies, 2016) ;
    The thesis of this study is that American imperial power during the Cold War era irrevocably altered traditional modes of dislocation by reshaping the twentieth-century global terrain through the expansion of socio-political, economic, and cultural networks, thus changing how international travel and national identity are understood over time. The redefining of international experience has prompted categorical shifts of the conceptual and vernacular parameters of dislocation dependent upon the arrangements of international networks in accordance with Cold War coordinates. The ambivalence of subjectivity and autonomy characteristic of the dislocated perspectives of expatriatism, exile, and diaspora, and their production of narratives that explore the masking and unmasking of liberation and oppression embedded in nationalist discourse throughout socio-political, economic, and cultural domains, are symptomatic of these shifts. My examination focuses on selected literatures of dislocation that operate at formative geopolitical sites and historical moments in the Cold War era to determine how they critically confront and dialogically deconstruct the performative and pedagogical narrative strategies of the nation-state paradigm. Thus, in an age of globalisation that necessitates new and evolving strategies of consolidating and safeguarding hegemony in the face of transnational expansions, these literatures illuminate multiple traces of power bound within the local, national, and global manifestations of the American (neo)imperial project.Chapter One will examine the ambivalent expatriate identity of William S. Burroughs’s dislocation within the geopolitical infrastructure of Moroccan experimental internationalism as represented by Tangier’s International Zone status. Burroughs constructs a counter-narrative against post-WWII colonialism and nationalism, which serves to undercut the consolidation of US foreign power in evidence during the Cold War. Chapter Two will compare how James Baldwin and Eldridge Cleaver confronted exile in Europe and North Africa, negotiated formal racist American policy during the Civil Rights Movement, and employed New Leftist socialist and postcolonial ideologies that informed the Black Power and Anti-war Movements. Comparing the two demonstrates the extent to which “American power follows one everywhere” (Baldwin) as US military and economic power proliferated at the height of the Cold War. Chapter Three will interrogate the plurality of identity in the diaspora narrative of Junot Díaz, thus shifting the focus of the dissertation to the Americas. Here I focus on the lasting effects of state-defined determinism on the Dominican diaspora, its origins based on Caribbean histories prescribed by the Cold War US policy toward Latin America that endorsed dictators in the region, and the difficulties of reconciling hybridity and normative identity politics.