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.