Panel 10 Literary Explorations of the Margins

Start Date

14-2-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

14-2-2015 3:20 PM

Panel

Literary Explorations of the Margins

Paper/Panel Track (if known)

Ideoscapes

Abstract

I plan to show how the characters in Another Country uncover the inherently racist and homophobic requirements for citizenship in a nation. The novel Another Country by African American author James Baldwin (1924-1987) exposes the fallible nature of hetero-normative and racial ideals that narrowly define a model citizen of a nation-state. The queer interracial relationships in the novel, particularly between the main character Rufus and his lover Eric, transgress the boundaries of nation, race, and sexuality, thus revealing the illusionary nature of categorizations that are defined and applied by nation-state apparatuses in order to discriminate and maintain uniformity. In addition to questioning the citizenship requirements for the nation-state, Baldwin highlights the voices of those who have been historically underrepresented in society and literature, particularly queer, black, and working class people.

The ideals of a uniform nationhood often lead to repressive and discriminatory classification of perceived citizens and illegitimate interlopers. Rufus is a black, queer, lower class Jazz musician from Harlem during the year 1960. He has ambivalent feelings about his homeland, because even though it is his native land, it refuses to treat him as a citizen. His feelings of alienation in his home country relate to the nation-state’s need to control and dominate its populous in order to maintain power. Nations by and large define themselves as homogenous units, which usually leads to repression and expulsion of racial and sexual minorities.

By analyzing key passages of the text, focusing on its transnational nature and using the perspectives of Post-Colonial, Critical Race, and Queer Theory, I will show how state ideologies of citizenship impact the main characters as queer diasporic migrants. Moreover, I will demonstrate how the stringent requirements for citizenship in the 1960s correlate to discrimination that occurs contemporarily in the United States.

 
Feb 14th, 2:00 PM Feb 14th, 3:20 PM

Another Country: When Your Nation Doesn’t Consider You To Be a Citizen

I plan to show how the characters in Another Country uncover the inherently racist and homophobic requirements for citizenship in a nation. The novel Another Country by African American author James Baldwin (1924-1987) exposes the fallible nature of hetero-normative and racial ideals that narrowly define a model citizen of a nation-state. The queer interracial relationships in the novel, particularly between the main character Rufus and his lover Eric, transgress the boundaries of nation, race, and sexuality, thus revealing the illusionary nature of categorizations that are defined and applied by nation-state apparatuses in order to discriminate and maintain uniformity. In addition to questioning the citizenship requirements for the nation-state, Baldwin highlights the voices of those who have been historically underrepresented in society and literature, particularly queer, black, and working class people.

The ideals of a uniform nationhood often lead to repressive and discriminatory classification of perceived citizens and illegitimate interlopers. Rufus is a black, queer, lower class Jazz musician from Harlem during the year 1960. He has ambivalent feelings about his homeland, because even though it is his native land, it refuses to treat him as a citizen. His feelings of alienation in his home country relate to the nation-state’s need to control and dominate its populous in order to maintain power. Nations by and large define themselves as homogenous units, which usually leads to repression and expulsion of racial and sexual minorities.

By analyzing key passages of the text, focusing on its transnational nature and using the perspectives of Post-Colonial, Critical Race, and Queer Theory, I will show how state ideologies of citizenship impact the main characters as queer diasporic migrants. Moreover, I will demonstrate how the stringent requirements for citizenship in the 1960s correlate to discrimination that occurs contemporarily in the United States.