Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Mieko Kurata Anders Humanities and Social Science

Mourning "Veils": Racialization through Gothic Tropes in the Writings of William Faulkner and Kazuo Ishiguro

My project will explore the ideological implications of racialization through gothic tropes in William Faulkners The Sound and the Fury (1929) and Kazuo Ishiguros first two novels, A Pale View of Hills (1982) and An Artist of the Floating World (1986). Specifically, I will reframe Faulkners use of the Southern Gothic genre to configure a postwar Asian Gothic through Ishiguros early work, generating a new cross-racial, trans-historical perspective on literary representations of racial melancholia. Why, I will ask, did the historical contexts of the postbellum American South and postwar Japan, both cultures of defeat (Schivelbusch) tasked with refiguring national identity, give rise to such eerie, macabre constructions of race in literature? Focusing on melancholia through the lens of oppressions perpetrators rather than its victims, I will analyze the gothic genres potential as a limited redeemer of historical trauma and provide a more nuanced account of W.E.B. Du Boiss notion of the color line, one that envisions manifestations of racial oppression as necessarily relational yet inherently problematic as such.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the Anselm Fund for your incredible generosity in supporting this project. Because of your contribution, I was able to travel to UT Austin to perform archival work on a vast collection of materials that has, because of its novelty, yet to be studied rigorously at all. From this work, I'll be able to generate entirely original scholarship on an author I have not only admired personally for years, but whose writing will inform my research for years to come. Having the ability to sit with my thoughts for the duration of the summer allowed me to come to understand my long-term goals, both academic and personal, in a way that would have been impossible had I had to work another job simultaneously. As a person with many competing interests, especially in largely underfunded humanities disciplines, that privilege has been invaluable. Your support will enable me to approach graduate school, as well as even the precarious job market that follows it, with confidence in the importance of intellectual research for its own sake, as well as the assurance that I can reach the goals I set for myself, despite how unreachable they might seem at the outset. Thank you so much.
Major: English, Sociology
Mentor: Steven Lee
Sponsor: Anselm L&S
Back to Listings
Back to Donor Reports