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"Other Lovings": Abjection, Love Bonds, and the Queering of Race

  • Author(s): Lee, Seulghee
  • Advisor(s): JanMohamed, Abdul
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation discusses the intersection of racial abjection and love bonds in late 20th-century and 21st-century African-American and Asian-American literature and culture. The manuscript deploys affect studies and queer theory to discuss works by Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, David Henry Hwang, Adrian Tomine, and Gayl Jones, in addition to the cultural phenomena of "Linsanity" and "afro-pessimism." Whereas most critical readings of failed love in minority literature have emphasized the tragic interpersonal consequences of internalized racism, this dissertation argues that these writers narrate love's apparent failure in order to explore the positive content emergent in the felt rupture of breakups. Through readings of dissolved love relationships in these authors' works, I inquire into love's operation as an affect that always desires more and better sociality. The appearance of love's failure is precisely what illuminates the ineluctably positive content of love, and I situate this content in the context of recent theoretical discussions of love as narcissistic, not-yet-here, oppressive, or antisocial. The project ultimately argues that blackness, yellowness, and queerness share a privileged access to and familiarity with love's affective positivity.

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