Dominican University of California
 

Oral Presentations - Guzman 202

Presentation or Panel Title

Shifting Identity/Shifting Discourse: Re-Naming in Contemporary Literature by Jeffrey Eugenides, Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith

Location

Guzman 202

Start Date

4-24-2015 11:00 AM

End Date

4-24-2015 11:15 AM

Department

Graduate Humanities

Student Type

Graduate

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Thomas Burke

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Names are a social connector, symbolizing personal identity, familial relationships and ancestry. While names are fundamentally personal, so too are they political: names signify personhood and demand recognition by the symbolic order of language, culture and community. Re-naming one’s self is an empowering act of self-definition; re-naming others is an attempt to codify, contain and censure identity. Re-naming emerges as a compelling theme in contemporary transnational literature, appearing in three notable 21st century texts: Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000), Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex (2002) and Salman Rushdie's literary memoir Joseph Anton (2012). These texts depict stories of diaspora, the migration or dispersal away from a homeland. Communities of diaspora negotiate between two cultures: an originary culture and the culture of the new geographic location. From these negotiations emerge a third, hybridized identity. Acts of re-naming parallel diasporic experience, embodying negotiation between two distinct identities: a former identity and a newly named identity. Re-naming serves as a compelling theme for understanding the ontology of hybridity, and this presentation will demonstrate how acts of re-naming call for more plural epistemologies of identity and belonging.

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Apr 24th, 11:00 AM Apr 24th, 11:15 AM

Shifting Identity/Shifting Discourse: Re-Naming in Contemporary Literature by Jeffrey Eugenides, Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith

Guzman 202

Names are a social connector, symbolizing personal identity, familial relationships and ancestry. While names are fundamentally personal, so too are they political: names signify personhood and demand recognition by the symbolic order of language, culture and community. Re-naming one’s self is an empowering act of self-definition; re-naming others is an attempt to codify, contain and censure identity. Re-naming emerges as a compelling theme in contemporary transnational literature, appearing in three notable 21st century texts: Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000), Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex (2002) and Salman Rushdie's literary memoir Joseph Anton (2012). These texts depict stories of diaspora, the migration or dispersal away from a homeland. Communities of diaspora negotiate between two cultures: an originary culture and the culture of the new geographic location. From these negotiations emerge a third, hybridized identity. Acts of re-naming parallel diasporic experience, embodying negotiation between two distinct identities: a former identity and a newly named identity. Re-naming serves as a compelling theme for understanding the ontology of hybridity, and this presentation will demonstrate how acts of re-naming call for more plural epistemologies of identity and belonging.