Master of Arts (MA)
First Advisor's Name
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Third Advisor's Name
Oscar Wao, history, Beloved, empathy, ethics, deconstruction, historiography, Junot Diaz, Toni Morrison
Date of Defense
The purpose of this thesis was to contribute to a dialogue that considers the relationship between history, literature, and empathy as a literary affect. Specifically, I explored sites of literature’s transformative potential as it relates to cultural studies and the ethics of deconstruction. Via a deconstructive, post-colonial reading of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I considered how subjects in our current socio-political moment can feel history.
Emerging from a post-structurally mediated engagement with history, signification, and feeling, I argued that empathy, as it is contentiously presented in the context of deconstruction, is not necessarily a reductive or essentialist approach towards relating or “being-with” an-other. Instead, I proposed that the act of reading historiographical novels that take constructions of the Atlantic Slave Trade to task might generate an affective empathy, which could in turn engender a more empathetic relationality and way of being-in-the-world.
Vera, Monica A., "Taking Issue with History: Empathy and the Ethical Imperatives of Creative Interventions" (2012). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 776.
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