Affect in Epistemology: Relationality and Feminist Agency in Critical Discourse, Neuroscience, and Novels by Bambara, Morrison, and Silko.

Show simple item record Ahern, Megan Keady en_US 2012-10-12T15:24:05Z NO_RESTRICTION en_US 2012-10-12T15:24:05Z 2012 en_US 2012 en_US
dc.description.abstract How do emotional and social experiences influence the knowledge we produce about our world? Here I investigate this question in two contexts: the individual mind, as represented in literature, and recent critical practices in the humanities. I combine readings of Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters, Toni Morrison’s Sula and Beloved, and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony with contemporary neuroscience to explore the roles of gender and community in trauma and healing, with particular attention to the way emotion shapes perception, cognition, and memory. I lay the theoretical groundwork for this study with a sustained analysis of recent shifts away from poststructuralist accounts of the subject, as they are taking shape across contemporary critical theory and current public and academic receptions of neuroscience. At its heart, my project forges new paths for interdisciplinary exchange in order to shed light on the more underattended features of human knowledge, while foregrounding issues of gender,agency, and relationality. In the first half of the dissertation, I analyze trauma studies in the 1990s, and interdisciplinary engagements with neuroscience in the past decade, two movements whose vogue has been as substantial as it is surprising. That an era generally held to be poststructuralist, antibiological, and postmodern – that is, that conceives identity as fluid, shifting, and socially constructed – should be so fascinated by accounts of the subject that involve, of all things, permanence, indelibility, or biology, is intriguing. In these chapters, I work to contextualize these fields historically, culturally, and theoretically, and to compare their symbolic investments, with particular attention to the role of affect in their intellectual reception. In the second half of the dissertation, I explore how accounts of the mind and the brain might be thought together, focusing on the role of gender and of community in traumatic memory and healing through the lens of the core novels in dialogue with contemporary neuroscience. In advancing innovative frameworks for combining science and the humanities, my goal is not only to deepen our understanding of knowledge production, but also to expand our repertoire of methods of pursuing knowledge. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Late-20th-Century U.S. Women's Novels en_US
dc.subject Neuroscience Studies en_US
dc.subject Epistemology en_US
dc.subject Affect Studies en_US
dc.subject Interdisciplinary Studies en_US
dc.subject Gender and Sexuality Studies en_US
dc.title Affect in Epistemology: Relationality and Feminist Agency in Critical Discourse, Neuroscience, and Novels by Bambara, Morrison, and Silko. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename PHD en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline English and Women's Studies en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Awkward, Michael en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Miles, Tiya A. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Miller, Joshua L. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Van Anders, Sari Michelle en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Wald, Priscilla en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel African-American Studies en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel American and Canadian Studies en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel English Language and Literature en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Humanities (General) en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Women's and Gender Studies en_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevel Humanities en_US
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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