Anatomy of the City: Race, Infrastructure, and U.S. Fictions of Dependency.

Show simple item record Kim, Jina B. 2016-09-13T13:57:04Z 2016-09-13T13:57:04Z 2016 2016
dc.description.abstract This dissertation argues that city infrastructure, in the literary-cultural afterlife of 1996 U.S. welfare reform, operates as a focal point for recuperating the stigmatized condition of state dependency—a stigma commonly attached to racialized, impoverished, and disabled populations. Drawing together ethnic literary, women-of-color feminist, feminist disability, and urban sociological studies, it re-conceptualizes the pathologized cityscape disabled by anti-welfare policy, and positions dependency as an underexplored yet vital analytic for ethnic American cultural critique. Attending to infrastructure as thematic, formal, and analytic concern, I argue that writers, artists, and activists like Anna Deavere Smith, Audre Lorde, Karen Tei Yamashita, Helena María Viramontes, Samuel R. Delany, and Grace Lee Boggs recuperate dependency by highlighting public support systems: healthcare, transportation, education, sanitation, and food welfare. In doing so, they emphasize our contingency on human and material infrastructures alike—the often-obscured pipes, wires, roads, and labor networks that regulate metropolitan life. As a set of fields borne from social protest, ethnic literary studies has largely prioritized the politicized subject engaged in projects of self-determination, which hinge on standard, able-bodied conceptions of autonomy. But when I sift through multi-ethnic American literatures, I find stories that prioritize interdependency, networks of social support, and fractured, vulnerable bodies. And I ask: How can ethnic literary and feminist disability studies, taken together, generate new conceptions of dependency in our so-called post-racial era, in which colorblind discourses of state dependency devalue racialized, impoverished, and disabled life? Through their engagement with infrastructural support, the texts in my study register, contest, or overwrite dominant rhetorics of dependency, which selectively equate racialized and gendered deviance with state parasitism (i.e. the “illegal” migrant, the welfare queen). By deriving an aesthetics and politics of dependency from the supporting operations of literary infrastructures, my dissertation generates what I term a crip of color critique from the little explored intersection of anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and feminist disability politics. City infrastructure, in the works I examine, operates as a figure of condensation for a counter-discourse of dependency—one that documents the disabling violence of state neglect while foregrounding a public ethics of care.
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.subject Ethnic American literature
dc.subject Disability Studies
dc.subject Women's and Gender Studies
dc.subject Urban Environmental Studies
dc.subject Contemporary American literature
dc.title Anatomy of the City: Race, Infrastructure, and U.S. Fictions of Dependency.
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename PhD
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline English and Women's Studies
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
dc.contributor.committeemember Smith, Sidonie A
dc.contributor.committeemember Yaeger, Patricia Smith
dc.contributor.committeemember Kuppers, Petra
dc.contributor.committeemember Awkward, Michael
dc.contributor.committeemember Cotera, Maria
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel English Language and Literature
dc.subject.hlbtoplevel Humanities
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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